UCLA Bruins head coach Mick Cronin was reprimanded by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott today for his comments on the referees after Saturday’s 74-64 loss to the University of North Carolina:
“The Pac-12 membership has established rules that prohibit our coaches from publicly commenting about officiating,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “We have an obligation to our members to enforce approved conference rules. As a part of our officiating program, there is a protocol in place for our coaches to provide feedback directly to the coordinator of officials.”
Ironically, I don’t think this is as much for the call that he got the technical foul on. Jalen Hill was ruled in the cylinder of the North Carolina player when he took an elbow in the face. Cronin was upset about this and did mention it was inconsistent with an earlier call this season. It could be the reason.
But I think it is this quote (emphasis mine) where he got in trouble:
But that said, in defense of my players, I thought that the officials took the first half off. I mean, you watch the game, and North Carolina won, so don’t misconstrue what I am saying. The game was officiated two separate, two separate halves. All you got to do is look at the fouls per half. We had 20 fouls in the second half. North Carolina had 13. First half, six and seven. In the first half, we’re trying to drive the ball and guys are being fouled the entire time. We got fouled on four or five shots. We got fouled on multiple drives.
Saying the officials “took the half off” is not going to sit well with officials or the Pac-12.
Three quick thoughts.
- Coach Cronin is correct in fact. even if the rhetoric is heated. The referees called the game entirely different from the first to the second half. That really can’t be argued.
- Is this the time to make that point? It is not a big game. Will the referees hold a grudge? I have no clue, but this is not an abstract point. A few years back, the referees held a major grudge against Sean Miller. Miller was a jerk and he was over the top. The referees are supposed to ref the game not punish bad behavior, but they did go after Miller.
- Cronin fights for his players. While it is obvious that he defended Jalen Hill, who literally got a foul called on him for being hit in the nose, it is less obvious that he is defending other players like Cody Riley and Chris Smith. For a big like Riley, it is hard to play when the same play is only a foul depending on what half it happens in. Smith was visibly upset with multiple calls during the game.
I would like to emphasize that Coach Cronin did NOT say it cost UCLA the game. He is not taking anything away from North Carolina. Should he have criticized through channels? Probably. Is his candor somewhat refreshing? Absolutely. Was it worth it? That remains to be seen.