By Greg Johnson
Had you told Jon Levinson 17 seasons ago that he would someday be the NCAA secretary-rules editor for women’s basketball, not even he would have believed it.
When he began officiating women’s college basketball, his goal was to do the best job on a game-to-game basis. He had no expectations of where it would all lead.
Now Levinson, who officiates Divisions I, II and III women’s basketball games, will shadow current women’s basketball secretary-rules editor Debbie Williamson for the upcoming 2013-14 season and take over the role permanently starting Sept. 1, 2014.
“If you told me back then I would be refereeing Divisions I, II and III basketball games, I would have laughed,” Levinson said. “If you told me 17 years ago that I would be secretary-rules editor, I would have laughed even harder.”
His path to the position began modestly by working intramural games during his college days at Rutgers. At that time, he was more interested in becoming a baseball umpire.
“I started watching the game more, and I paid attention to what the officials were doing,” Levinson said. “I just fell in love with the idea of refereeing basketball.”
After earning a degree in history in 1985, Levinson became certified to officiate high school basketball in New Jersey. He eventually became an intercollegiate women’s basketball official in 1997 by working games in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the Northeast Conference.
In 2003, he began working Ivy League games, and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference added him to their roster of officials in 2009.
Through the years, Levinson has worked in his officiating assignments while remaining dedicated to his day jobs. For 20 years, he was the dean of students at St. Aloysius High School in Jersey City, N.J., and since 2007 he has taught social studies in an alternative program for the Bergenfield (N.J.) Public Schools.
Levinson also has worked in an administrative capacity on different officiating boards, and conducted clinics in the supervisors training program, where he developed NCAA women’s basketball rules quizzes.
Becoming active in the officiating world comes naturally for Levinson.
“It’s the teacher in me,” Levinson said. “With my students, I try to get them to understand how past events impact the things that are happening today. I look at basketball rules that way.”
Levinson, 50, believes his variety of experiences officiating all levels of NCAA women’s basketball will benefit him in his secretary-rules editor role.
While he can’t vote on specific rules changes, he can aid the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee from an on-court officials’ perspective and answer historical questions that often arise in meetings.
“I like that the rules book is not federated and that everyone plays the game the same way,” Levinson said. “I want to help the committee make the best decisions possible. That is my role and I work for them.”
Since he is becoming secretary-rules editor, Levinson, who also referees high school baseball and soccer, knows he is entering his final season of officiating basketball on the court.
It will be a strange feeling for him, but Levinson believes he has made the right choice in terms of the impact he can have on the sport of women’s basketball at a national level.
“I’d be lying if I said I won’t be sad when the 2013-14 season ends,” Levinson said. “But I’m really looking forward to the next chapter. I’ve always been passionate about the rules. I’m appreciative of this opportunity. I’m going to work as diligently as I can to live up to the expectations of this position. I am ready to represent everyone who has a stake in women’s basketball.”