Last night's outburst by coach Tim Floyd has gone national. Search "UTEP" on google and see how many news hits come up reporting the incident that took place in the opening minutes of the second half of the Miner's game at ECU. From the USA Today, to ESPN, to CBS Sports, and every other news outlet and blog site in America, everyone has their take on the event. Worse than that though, is the national media using this as an opportunity to take a jab at Floyd. I wont say anything about that, but if you've read the reports you know exactly what I'm talking about. Its pathetic.
Now its time for us here at the Rush to take a second to examine what exactly happened. Although I don't necessarily want to put the video up, I will.
As anyone can clearly see, Tim Floyd is obviously upset. What is not shown in any of these videos is how Tim Floyd received his first technical foul. According to Floyd "I was given a warning for having my foot out of the coaching box...I haven't got a technical all year long, so I went back to the bench. Next thing I know, I have a technical." Cue the video. The video picks up after Floyd has received the first technical. Even after this the coach is clearly asking for a timeout, and an explanation. The explanation was never given, the timeout eventually was.
An upset Floyd continues to give the refs a piece of his mind, and eventually receives his second technical and ejection. Now even Floyd has admitted the second was probably deserved. "I guess I probably reacted to the first technical, not really understanding why it was given. I probably earned the second one, but that's part of the game". Following the second technical coach Floyd went absolutely ballistic, approaching the referees in an aggressive manner, showing his disgust for the calls. Eventually a local police officer was called in to intervene.
First off, I have to say how unprofessional this was not only by the officials, but also Coach Floyd. I love coach's passion in standing up for his team. He's a better man than me, I would've gone off a lot worse. Regardless, he should not have acted in the manner that he did, justified or not. Also, the officials could have done their part to defuse the situation, and they refused to. A simple explanation, and a "coach cool down" would've sufficed here.
Prior to the start of the video referee Jeb Hartness blows the quick whistle to give coach Floyd his first tech, apparently for being outside the coach's box. Hartness can be seen addressing the scorer's table in the opening seconds of the clip. Referee Brian Kersey is the man with the ball, and takes an aggressive approach with Floyd from the get go. Floyd asks Kersey for a timeout repeatedly which Kersey only responds by saying "back off" about five times.
Once the timeout is finally granted, Floyd begins to ask for an explanation from the refs, motioning them over with a hand wave. In the video, no ref speaks with Floyd, and no explanation is given. Floyd then proceeds to let Hartness know of his displeasure with the quick t. Hartness only stares the coach down repeatedly, then gives the coach his second technical and ejection. I will say that again, the refs could have done something to change the situation yet they didn't. Completely unprofessional.
After Floyd has been ejected he rushes toward Hartness to speak his mind. Obviously this is something Floyd shouldn't have done, but there are a couple of things to point out here. First referee Brian Kersey immediately puts his hands on Floyd, and is the one to, in my opinion, prematurely ask for police assistance. The officer was just as bad, you can see it in his eyes that he doesn't like what Floyd is doing. The crazy thing is, stuff like this goes on all the time in sports, and RARELY, RARELY do you see a police officer called on to help. This was completely blown out of proportion in that sense.
Next, comes the ejection of head assistant Phil Johnson. From the video this was completely uncalled for. Johnson is clearly upset, but is not cursing or really even yelling very loud at the officials, yet again referee Jeb Hartness is quick to the whistle and tees up Johnson twice and ejects him. Again, a situation where the referees could've approached coach Johnson and told him to gain control of his bench or he would be ejected too or something. Nothing of that nature took place. They just simply went tech crazy.
One more thing of note. The only official in this video that seems like he's trying to really gain control of the situation, calm Floyd down, and do the right thing is official Steven Pyatt. It just so happens that he is the only one of the three that is actually a C-USA referee. According to statsheet.com, referee Bryan Kersey is typically an ACC and MAAC official, official Jeb Hartness usually does Ohio Valley and Sun Belt games, and Pyatt does C-USA and Ohio Valley matches.
We all know that incidents like what happened last night have no place in college sports, or sports at all for that matter. It was far from the worst "meltdown" (if you can even call it that) that I've seen, and in a way was somewhat understandable, but still should not have happened. The question is why couldn't the refs just walk over to Floyd like you see sooooo many times, and give him an explanation and warning? Also, why wasn't this game officiated by a C-USA crew? I'm no expert on how referees are assigned to different games, but you would think that a conference game down the stretch of the season would be officiated by a crew of that conference. A C-USA crew might have handled the situation a little differently. Apparently, just as Pyatt tried to.
On top of this all, was the officiating that ensued after the technicals had happened. This crew took complete advantage of the Miners and began whistling every foul on the Miners, stuff that was not called on the other end. The Pirates were in the double bonus with about 17 minutes left in this game. Granted, there were 4 technicals, but 6 personals in three minutes says everything you need to know. In the end, ECU shot 45 free throws, compare to 17 for the Miners. Throw out the technical foul shots, and you've still got about a 20 shot disadvantage. Most might say don't complain about the refs, and I usually don't, but last night was the exception to the rule.
This tape, and the incident itself are now under review by Conference USA. Hopefully, they will see the same things that I have pointed out here. Sure Floyd was wrong in losing it like he did, but the officials could have done their part to calm the situation. That's what they are paid for right? To control the contest? Apparently they didn't feel that was part of their duties. Again, even after the outburst by Floyd, you would think these officials might try to call this game even. Look at the stats, they didn't at all. I said in a comment earlier, and I'll say it again. I don't expect C-USA to come back, and say the officials were wrong in what they did, or how they called the game. It's just like getting a speeding ticket. You can plead your case all you want, but the judge always takes the cop's side. All we can hope for is better officiating down the stretch. I'm not asking for any special treatment or help, just fair and consistent officiating, cause these last two crews have been absolutely pathetic.