Stop me if you have heard this one. Karl Hess officiates an ACC game, a grotesque number of fouls get called, the game is brought to a crawl and at least one key player is handcuffed changing the outcome of the game. If you have watched any ACC basketball you have seen a Karl Hess officiated game go exactly this way. NC State’s Tracy Smith apparently had enough during the Pack’s loss to Wake Forest and let the media know than in his postgame comments:
The refs, I don’t think they did a good job tonight, I think they favored Wake Forest all the way but that’s ACC basketball. You’ve got to play through that.
I felt like there was too many touch fouls. It’s a man’s game, I mean there’s going to be touching and hitting, you can’t call every little touch foul.
As soon as I read that the first thing I thought was not how much trouble Smith would be in but rather “I bet Karl Hess was the referee.”
Smith, for his trouble, won’t be playing in NCSU’s next game against Arizona but not because of anything the ACC did. NC State decided to suspend its star player over his criticism of ACC officials.
Wow, way to stand by your player there Wolfpack. What is worse is they trot an apology out from Smith but no one else from NCSU commented. Seriously, Smith had a point. There were 42 fouls called in the game and he was obviously frustrated by foul trouble. Granted criticizing officials is taboo but in my opinion NCSU should have the balls to force the ACC’s hand and have them hand down the penalty. Much the same way a coach might get a technical to protest poor officiating, NCSU should have informed John Swofford that they stand by their player and will accept any suspension handed down, if for no other reason, than to make a point. Instead Lee Fowler and The Easy Button cowered before the ACC choosing the bench their own player rather than makes some waves.
Nothing says “enabler” like doing the dirty work of the league whose officials royally screwed you for them.