A new study in The Journal of Sports Economics suggests that the Napoleon Complex is a real thing, as evidenced by the increased number of fouls called by short refs. The study was conducted by researchers Ryan Rodenberg and Paul Gift. Using data from 2008-2012, they controlled for variables like race, age, and experience and found a correlation between ref height and number of personal fouls called on players.
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While there isn't a large difference in average number of personal fouls (according to the study, the average player would only see one extra foul every 480 minutes), it is statistically significant -- which means there is most likely a direct correlation between ref height and number of fouls called. That being said, if they're shorter, maybe they can just see fouls better from closer to the ground. Maybe more fouls doesn't mean less accurate foul calling.
Except Joey Crawford. That's definitely less accurate.
[JSE, h/t Deadspin]
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