No ACC discipline for Coach K
ACC officials thought about what Mike Krzyzewski said and did during last Sunday’s ACC Tournament championship game.
In the end, they decided not to mete out discipline for either his technical foul for throwing a pen to the floor at the Duke bench or his post-game comments that earning a technical for it was “ridiculous” and “shameful.”
In reality, no matter what ACC Commissioner John Swofford thought of the situation, this was the only plausible course of action.
Was it because Krzyzewski is the face of amateur basketball, what with his Olympic Gold Medals and all-time Division I men’s coaching wins total? Nope.
Was it because Kryzewski put himself out there on behalf of the ACC over the last two weeks, lobbying for more league teams to get into the NCAA Tournament (you’re welcome, N.C. State)? Nope.
While those things are true, the reason Swofford’s hands were tied is because that’s the precedent that’s been established.
This ACC basketball season turned into open season on officials because such public criticism was allowed to flow unfettered.
Here are a few examples of what’s been said this season:
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, ejected from Duke’s 66-60 win at Cameron on Feb. 22 for arguing a charging foul with 10 seconds left, said this about that foul against C.J. Fair:
“I thought that was the worst call of the year,” Boeheim said. “That's all."
N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried was agitated that T.J. Warren wasn’t awarded a basket and a free throw when he was fouled late in what became a 56-55 Wolfpack loss at Syracuse on Feb. 15:
“That was a made basket to put us up three with T.J. going on the line to go up four. For them to wipe that away, I've already watched the tape and I don't like that call. That changed things."
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon didn’t like that a foul wasn’t called when Syracuse’s Baye Moussa Keita blocked Nick Faust’s shot with 16 seconds left in what became a 57-55 Orange win on Feb. 24
“I thought Nick got fouled,” Turgeon said. “I think the replay showed that. It’s been that kind of year for us. Didn’t call it.”
In the NBA, such comments would be followed by a call from the league office with a fine or suspension to follow. The thinking is simple. If coaches are allowed to publicly criticize officials, it eats away at the game’s integrity. If fans doubt authenticity, they could begin to doubt the sport and possibly lose interest.
The ACC has chosen a different path. I have a feeling, given the steady stream of comments from coaches about officials this season, the higher ups in the league office wish they would have cut this off before it became so prevalent.
Perhaps once the season is over the subject will be revisited. It wouldn’t surprise me to some stronger guidelines put in place before next season.
But that’s about the future. For now, with Krzyzewski’s comments just the latest, the silence from the ACC office while its officials are under siege is a way of life.