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MAC suspends refs following yesterday’s officiating debacle

January 24, 2016

The Mid-American Conference issued the following statement today:

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, at the end of the second overtime in the Ball State vs. Eastern Michigan men’s basketball game, several errors were committed by two of the officials assigned to that game.

In response to these errors, the Mid-American Conference has suspended the officials from two conference games and they will not be considered for 2016 post-season assignments in the conference tournament.

The Mid-American Conference holds its officiating staff to the highest standards. To that end, multiple errors in judgment on one play, as in this case, must be met with swift and firm disciplinary action.

“The final play of the game was not handled appropriately by several officials and unfortunately took away from what was a highly competitive and entertaining game for the competing students and fans,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. “I along with our membership have higher expectations and as a result have directed our coordinator of men’s basketball officials to take appropriate disciplinary action, including multiple-game suspensions.”

Given the number of high-profile officiating errors that go unpunished by the MAC (and other conferences), it’s a sign of just how egregiously bad the refereeing was in this game. Unfortunately, the conference is not saying which two officials they considered at fault. The three refs in yesterday’s game were Todd Williams, John Gaston, and Robert Kruger.

As noted by Hustle Belt, Rob Murphy felt that all three officials were clearly at fault on the final play, as well as for bad officiating throughout the game.

It was terrible, all three officials watched us get the rebound, consistently get fouled, they stole the ball from hitting Brandon [Nazione]’s hand, Ethan [Alvano] had it, they hit his hand. The officials watched him travel, and they watched them shoot a three…In my 20 years of coaching (from HS to college) that’s the worst ignored call, or sequence, I’ve ever seen. Those guys did a bad job throughout the game and in particular on that play.

It was unfair. It’s not fair to end the game that way when all you have to do is blow the whistle, put us to the free throw line, we miss or make and Ball State gets a chance to come back down. But for us to get a huge stop, something I’ve been talking about, and [Nazione] to get a backside rebound, and we get that call, it’s unfortunate and it’s unfair, and you hurt kids, and you hurt a program. Because we played well enough to win the game, we deserved that game or a chance to go to the line to try to seal the game.

But those guys purposely ignored it. The problem is there’s no accountability. I can send it in and talk to the head of officials but nothing will happen. It’ll be the same guys you see on the next game doing the same exact thing. It’s been going on all year, this was just blatant where I and the whole arena could see it.

I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again: an official who allows something like this to occur is not fit to referee a Division I game. These referees should not be suspended; they should be dismissed.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ken permalink
    January 25, 2016 9:30 am

    This is nice and all, but it doesn’t bring the end of the game back.

  2. Ken Barna permalink
    January 25, 2016 11:14 am

    Dear Carter and Ken,
    I agree with both of you. If, the Mid-American Conference leader, had any concept of doing the right thing, Eastern should be awarded the win. I don’t know if that has ever been done, but it sure needs to be, in my opinion.
    If the referees won’t make the right call, then the commissioner should.

    • Ken permalink
      January 25, 2016 12:57 pm

      I don’t think Eastern should have been awarded the win but…..

  3. January 26, 2016 3:58 pm


    I’ll finish it. but…they should have been awarded the win.

    1970 EMU ALUMNUS

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