College Sports

Love him or hate him, what will the Big Dance be like without ref Ted Valentine?

Referee Ted Valentine (left) has a long history of calling games in the ACC.
Referee Ted Valentine (left) has a long history of calling games in the ACC. STAFF

With the NCAA Tournament getting in full swing this week, one of the burning questions about the tournament is 'How much will referee Ted Valentine be missed?'

Not much, if you believe the area fan bases from Duke, UNC and N.C. State. Their social media leaders have jumped onto the anti-Valentine bandwagon.

The veteran official was passed over by the NCAA to officiate any of the tournament games. This comes one year after he worked the Final Four. He didn't get the national championship game that saw North Carolina defeat Gonzaga 71-65, though.

Valentine has said the NCAA is leaving him out of the big dance because of an incident that occurred earlier this season with of all teams — UNC. Valentine turned his back on UNC senior guard Joel Berry after making a call Berry wanted to question during a game in January.

Valentine said he was informed of the decision on Saturday by NCAA coordinator of officials J.D. Collins, who he says brought up the Berry incident when asked for the reasoning.

“This is not right, it’s just not fair,” Valentine told ESPN. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m being punished unjustly.”

Valentine has developed a reputation for grabbing the spotlight. In 1998, he had a notorious argument with Bobby Knight after he ejected the Hall of Fame coach. He also had an incident in 2014 that saw him come face to face with Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin.