Football

This Is All So Dumb, But Some Good Has Come of This

Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt is fined by the Big 12 and Texas Tech fans have rallied.

Yesterday was a busy day for me and so I didn’t get to really post about the situation regarding the Big 12 fining Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt $25,000 for releasing the results of the Big 12 investigation to the incorrect call of the illegal snap (i.e. fumble).

“The Big 12 Conference members have developed policies governing the officiating of our contests,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “It is vital that senior administration officials, especially the Directors of Athletics, adhere explicitly to these policies. It is very difficult to balance support for an institution’s teams while fully complying with the imperative created by schools acting together to manage athletics competition. On this occasion, the required discipline was not exercised. Kirby Hocutt is one of the very best athletics administrators in the nation, and I am grateful for his assistance and support in resolving this matter.”

RedRaiderSports has a copy of the email that the Big 12 sent to Kirby Hocutt and here is the pertinent part:

Greg has reviewed the Illegal Snap / Fumble play in the 1st period of OT. The ruling on the field of an Illegal Snap was incorrect. The rule 2-23 a-h, states that a snap must be made in one quick and continuous motion with the ball leaving the snappers hand or hands. It is not a legal snap if the ball is moved forward or is lifted prior to the backward motion of a legal snap. The video shows the ball being snapped continuously and bouncing of the centers thing/leg and failing to the ground where it was recovered by the defense. Once the Head Line Judge ruled an illegal snap the play is dead like a false start, meaning the play never happened.

Hocutt then sent a letter to Bob Bowlsby, with what I thought was the most important part of the letter:

We had received many requests for comments and questions, and felt that closure to this issue was in the best interest of all parties involved. Our statement does not have any opinion nor does it bring to light any other officiating issues. We simply stated the facts in regards to the communication with the Conference Staff, the decision on the field, and that the play is not reviewable. We give complete deference and respect to the Conference in our statement.

Furthermore, it is important to note that we had received email communication from the Conference Staff in regards to this incident which went into more detail than our statement. this email communication would be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and would have to be released if requested. We feel that we had not brought closure to this issue this information would have been requested as we have received similar requests in the past.

Almost immediately after the Big 12 released their announcement of a fine, a fund was announced to pay for the fine and any amount over and above the $25,000 would establish a scholarship in the name of the Athletic Director.

Thoughts:

  • This is a terrible look for the Big 12, but it really doesn’t matter for them. Let’s say that they have some bad PR, it doesn’t affect their standing or what they do. We all get upset at the Big 12 and literally nothing happens. Fans yell with pitchforks at the Big 12 offices . . . and then what?
  • Supposedly $100,000 has been raised, so of that, $25,000 will go to the fine and the remaining amount will be used to set up a scholarship in the Athletic Director’s title (the site doesn’t say it will be set up in Kirby Hocutt’s name, but in the name of the athletic director, which is probably the correct move).
  • Despite this ruling, Texas Tech isn’t going to leave the Big 12 or anything else. That’s not the best option for Texas Tech anyway, not unless some other program leaves with Texas Tech and that isn’t going to happen.
  • Someone suggested that Texas Tech students all wear referee shirts and when asked about it on his coaches show, Matt Wells said that he wants for everyone to wear red and black. That is the correct response. And I’m the guy that says that you do what you want, but unfortunately, the Big 12 is bulletproof and making the referees angry before the game starts probably won’t help the situation. Referees are human too, so when you want that close call to go your way, maybe the refs don’t side with you. But you do what you do.
  • The best thing is that Texas Tech fans have rallied around Kirby Hocutt, not that he needed it. I think the scholarship is awesome and a good reminder that something really good has come as a result of this situation.
  • Kirby is absolutely correct in that this would have come out as part of an open records request and we’d all be talking about how the Big 12 admitted the error. The dumbest part is the Big 12’s rational to protect the referees, but that shouldn’t be their job, their job should be to publicly hold them accountable because public accountability might make these refs do a better job.
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