Referee collapses on court at Gonzaga-USC March Madness game

Bert Smith was alert and sitting up with his arms crossed as he was taken off the court.

INDIANAPOLIS — Official Bert Smith collapsed on the floor early in the Elite Eight game between Gonzaga and Southern California and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher.

Smith had just set up on the baseline as the Trojans were moving onto offense when he collapsed and hit his head on the floor.

He stayed down for about five minutes, and then was able to stand up and move to a nearby stretcher. He was alert and sitting up with his arms crossed as he was taken off the court.

Credit: AP

Referee Bert Smith is taken off the court on a stretcher after collapsing during the first half of an Elite 8 game between Gonzaga and Southern California during the first half of an Elite 8 game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

On the CBS broadcast, rules analyst Gene Steratore said Smith was feeling “lightheaded,” leading to the fall. He said Smith was being treated by trainers in the locker room and is stable.

Smith was officiating his second Elite Eight. He was replaced by an alternate, William Henderson, who had been at the scorer’s table.

The matchup was the 70th game Smith has worked this season, according to kenpom.com. He has officiated in multiple conferences.