During Saturday’s rant, Frank Martin noted a message could be coming his way.
The South Carolina basketball coach on Monday was publicly reprimanded by the SEC and fined $25,000 for his comments following USC’s loss to Florida. Martin was issued a technical foul by Lee Cassell late in the first half. Martin was critical of the SEC still allowing Cassell to work SEC games. Cassell became a “regular” on ACC games last season
“I’ve never, ever, ever spoken about officials because they got a hard job,” Martin said, “but for our league office to allow that to happen, that’s wrong. I’m sure someone’s going to call me and say, ‘Why did you say that?’ And I’m going to tell them, ‘It’s what I feel and I’ve told you this before and you know that I’ve told you this in private because it’s the way I feel. It’s not right.’”
Martin wasn’t necessarily critical of Cassell’s officiating as much as he was his presence. According to KenPom.com, Cassell’s worked six SEC matchups this season. He’s worked nine ACC matchups. Cassell worked the 2016 SEC Tournament, but worked the ACC Tournament last season.
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Saturday marked the second time this season Cassell’s been on the crew for a South Carolina game. He worked USC’s win over UTEP on Nov. 17 in Conway.
“Eleven years as head coach, I think today was my sixth technical foul in 11 years,” Martin said. “I got a problem when our league office puts a guy on our game that got his break in the SEC and he turned his back on the SEC to go officiate the other leagues. Why are we hiring that official to officiate SEC games? That’s a problem.
“We got our tails kicked. Officiating had nothing to do with us getting beat today. Was Chris (Silva) the only guy that pushes? No one ever pushes him? He leads the country in free throw attempts, but no one pushes him? But he’s the guy that pushes everybody? No one ever fouls him when he shoots around the basket?”
According to the league, Martin’s comments were “made in violation of SEC Bylaw 10.5.4, which prohibits coaches, players and support personnel from all public criticism of officials and from making public any specific communications with the Conference office related to officiating.”
“The Southeastern Conference membership has unanimously approved a bylaw prohibiting public criticism of officials,” Sankey said in a statement. “Frank Martin’s public comments violated the SEC Bylaw 10.5.4, which results in this reprimand and fine. The SEC staff and the SEC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating have worked diligently over the past two seasons to improve the overall quality of the conference’s officiating program. Our coaches and administrators have been fully informed of our strategies for improvement, which include building relationships with other conferences to coordinate the assignment of officials outside of their primary assigning conference. We appreciate this collaboration among conferences and will continue to seek and support these officiating assignments and basketball officials.”
Future violations of the conference’s code of ethics may result in additional penalties including a game suspension.
Fines levied against schools and individuals in the conference are directed in to a fund supporting the SEC’s post-graduate scholarship program.
Gamecock fans were quick to note on social media Monday that Sankey moved swiftly to fine Martin, but has yet to respond to allegations made by Missouri athletics director Jim Sterk against USC women’s coach Dawn Staley.