ATLANTA, FEB. 28 -- Officiating controversies have cropped up all over the Midwest in the last week, with coaches in the Big Eight and the Big Ten accusing referees of everything from incompetence to cronyism.
Consider the events of the last seven days:
Oklahoma State Coach Leonard Hamilton, after a loss to Missouri from which he was ejected early in the second half for a third bench technical, accused veteran referee Jim Bain of socializing with Missouri Coach Norm Stewart before the game. According to Hamilton, Bain spent 15 minutes "chatting" with Stewart prior to tipoff.
Kansas Coach Larry Brown followed Hamilton's accusation by accusing Bain of making a "phantom" call in the waning seconds of Missouri's two-point victory over Kansas in last year's Big Eight tournament. Brown had specifically requested that Bain not work that game.
Iowa State's Johnny Orr, ejected for the first time in 33 years as a coach, demanded that the three officials who worked the game be fired for "incompetence."
Ohio State Coach Gary Williams, following a 78-77 overtime loss to Michigan State, said the officials changed the way they officiated after Michigan State Coach Jud Heathcote complained about his team's 15 first-half foul calls. Williams also accused them of gross inconsistency when they failed to call a foul in favor of his guard, Jay Burson, at the end of regulation, but did call one that put MSU's Steve Smith at the line for the two deciding free throws with one second left in overtime. TV replays appeared to back up Williams' second accusation.
These problems are nothing new in the two leagues where the officials, as a group, are older than the ones working the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East. Coaches believe that it is not coincidental that the officiating supervisors in the ACC and the Big East are ex-coaches who are quicker to weed out officials who have lost a step than the supervisors in the Big Eight and Big Ten, who are ex-referees and worked with many of the men still blowing whistles.
"There's been a lot of talk about whether the Big Ten's officials measure up to its play," Williams said Saturday. "To me, good officials are the ones who work a game and don't get noticed. Today, the officials certainly got noticed."
Bain was involved in the infamous "phantom call" at Iowa five years ago that led to his being pulled off of Hawkeyes games by the Big Ten. His relationship with Stewart has been the subject of private griping in the Big Eight for years. And he is the only official since 1974 to call a technical on a coach during a national championship game.
No Place for That
At Saturday night's game at Arizona State, some fans yelled "PLO, PLO," "Go back to Beirut" and "Where's your Dad?" at Arizona senior guard Steve Kerr during warm-ups and through much of the first half.
Kerr's father, Malcolm, the president of American University in Beirut, Lebanon, was assassinated in January 1984.
"There's no place for that in college basketball. Those kind of people are the scum of the earth," Kerr said. "There are some sick people in this world."
"People have to be mentally ill to say things like that," Arizona Coach Lute Olson said. "That's when the security people should step in and stop that kind of thing -- step in and usher those people out of the arena. I'm sure those fans fired up Steve."
"Sure did," Kerr said. He scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half and sank all six of his three-point attempts as the third-ranked Wildcats beat Arizona State, 101-73. . . .
N.C. State is 8-4 in the ACC and likely to end up 10-4. If so, Jim Valvano should be ACC coach of the year, according to Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins. "He's done a great job," Cremins said today. "People don't give Jim enough credit for his coaching." . . .
Quote of the week: Oklahoma's Billy Tubbs describing his 26-2 team: "We can't shoot, we're having trouble rebounding and we aren't making our free throws. If we ever get those three things straightened out, we could be all right." . . .
Question: If Elden Campbell and Sean Tyson committed the same violation at Clemson by selling their complimentary tickets, why is Campbell, the team's leading scorer, suspended one game and Tyson, a nonstarter, for the season? . . .
Terry Holland may have lost a couple of basketball games by suspending John Johnson for testing positive for drugs last week but he has earned the respect of a lot of his colleagues. "It would have been very easy to cover it up and just give him a warning," Cremins said. "But Terry took the high road. I admire him for that."
A Double for the Upset Pick?
The Upset Pick roared out of the blocks last week with Seton Hall's victory over Pittsburgh, but Kentucky, without injured Rex Chapman, did beat Syracuse, so the record is 9-13. This week: shooting for double figure wins for the first time ever, The Pick is Maryland over N.C. State in Raleigh Thursday.