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‘Are you stepping to me right now?’: NCAA referee Karl Hess is at it again

Karl Hess perhaps should think a little harder about whom he steps to. (Jessica Hill/Associated Press)
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College basketball referee Karl Hess has seemingly kept a low profile since January 2015, when the ACC and American Athletic Conference severed ties with him after an in-game incident in which he told a Wake Forest fan of Indian descent that he wanted “to sit in your seat and watch your Egyptian a-- ref a game.”

That was far from his first incident: Hess was reprimanded by the ACC in February 2012 after he ejected North Carolina State legends Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta from their seats behind the scorer’s table during a game between the Wolfpack and Florida State. During a Marquette-Connecticut game in January 2013, he was part of a crew that pointed the teams in the wrong direction at the start of overtime, later incorrectly taking points off the board after he realized the mistake and then blaming the players for the error. He also once gave Louisville Coach Rick Pitino a technical foul for yelling at one of his own players.

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Despite all that, Hess still is officiating in college basketball’s lower tiers and was working Thursday night’s Southern Conference game between Samford and East Tennessee State when he appeared to charge at Bulldogs Coach Scott Padgett.

You can see a closer look at the confrontation in the video below, in which Padgett — who said he’s “6-9, probably 280 [pounds] right now” — discusses his surprise at Hess’s antics during his postgame comments.

”I literally said, ‘Are you stepping to me right now?’ ” Padgett said. “A guy like that stepping to me is not realistic. I mean, if we’re out on the street, he’s running the other way just if he sees me walking by . . . Not a lot of people step to me, so I think it was kind of an unprofessional move.”

Reached Friday, a Southern Conference spokesman said the league would not be commenting on the incident because it’s being handled internally.

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