Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Janet K. Smith

Rights Information

© 2017 Daniel R Fallon-Cyr


In this study I examine foul calls by NBA referees alongside the difference in aggressiveness of twelve NBA basketball teams as they compete for the Championship Title. I aim to identify referee biases that increase the likelihood of the NBA Finals ending in a later game due to league revenue incentives. My data consists of 91 individual NBA Finals games played between the 2001 and 2016 NBA Finals. After controlling for changes in play as well as the difference in aggressiveness, I find that NBA referee’s foul calls are more dependent on a call on the opposing team in situations with a larger series score spread. Additionally, I identify a consistent officiating bias towards the home team. My results imply an effort by the NBA to increase the probability of the series ending in a later game, possibly motivated by increased revenues for the league and all parties involved.