We’re about 48 hours removed from the incident that made headlines over the weekend and further perpetuated a string of tenuous moments this season between college basketball coaches and referees.
If you’ve been living under a rock (or some of you snow bank) for the last couple of days, let me get you caught up.
On Saturday during Cincinnati’s basketball game with UConn, referee Ted Valentine ruled that an out-of-bounds ball hit off UC forward Titus Rubles. He awarded possession to the Huskies, who were up 8 at the time and rolling momentum wise. Mick Cronin vocally objected to the call and Valentine immediately jumped in his face, antagonizing the coach in a demeaning manor.
What ensued was an enraged exchange of words (mainly expletives, I’m sure) and near fisticuffs. It was an ugly incident for both sides.
But with ample time to regroup, it appears cooler heads have prevailed. Valentine released a statement Sunday in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis:
After the game, Valentine called the AAC’s supervisor of officials and acknowledged that he should not have stepped toward Cronin in such an aggressive manner. “I was just totally wrong. I was out of place by walking into his space,” Valentine told me by phone on Sunday. “It was just one of those situations where I got caught up in the moment. I was out of bounds because I walked into his domain. That’s why I didn’t give him a technical because I knew I was wrong, and two wrongs don’t make a right. If it had been 15, 16 years ago, I never would have caught myself like that.”
Well I must say, for an official who seems to feast on controversy and his own ego, that statement was mighty diffident of Ted Valentine. He recognized that he was in the wrong and owned up to the situation, placing the blame on himself instead of pushing it on Cronin. It doesn’t get more professional than that. And with that, hopefully we can finally put this ugly incident to bed. Amidst the excitement of a roaring crowd and revved up announcers, watching a coach and official go at it isn’t good for basketball. It should be more about the game than a juvenile squabble between two people who should be ancillaries.
Time to move on to Memphis!