George Mason Coach Joe Harrington, who vowed Saturday night never to return to Howard because of what he felt was poor officiating in an 83-69 loss, said yesterday he would consider renewing the contract between the two schools if certain changes could be made.
"Yes, I was upset over the officiating. But that night, even with better officials, Howard would have beaten us, anyway," Harrington said. "A.B. (Williamson, Howard coach) has done a very good job with his team this year and they were better than we were. I just felt we didn't get fair treatment.
"There are no easy answers to these kinds of situations, but things have to change. One official wouldn't even talk to me when I wanted to ask him a question. I don't think that's a lot to ask.
"Before we sign a new contract, I'll have to sit down with my athletic director (Jack Kvancz) and we'll discuss it. It's important for area schools to play one another and I would like to continue playing Howard. But under the same circumstances, no, I won't go back."
Harrington became outraged in the final 1:48 when one of his players, Mike Shannon, was called for a foul and a technical by official Larry Harrison. After a heated exchange, Harrison assessed Harrington a technical. Howard led by 15 at the time and technicals had no bearing on the game.
"The officials made a correctable error," Williamson said. "They allowed one of my players to shoot a technical shot before the one and one. When they found they had made a mistake, they took all the points off the board and started all over again. After the long debate, to do that looked pretty bad.
"Joe was more upset over the way the situation was handled. But the officials handled it correctly because they did fix the situation. I ended up losing a point in the deal."
Harrington said he would offer three proposals: play at a neutral site, use a split crew of officials or personally select officials. Williamson said he had no problems with two of the three proposals.
"I don't like that split-crew idea: you have one referee going to the left and the other going to the right," he said. "I don't mind sitting down and selecting the officials and the D.C. Civic Center is a perfect place for all of the local schools to play. It's ideal.
"This is something that can be worked out between George Mason and Howard. We'll sit down like adults should and discuss the situation. I'm sure we can come up with a satisfactory agreement."