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Big 12 fines West Virginia’s Huggins $10K for comments on officials

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Big 12 conference has levied a $10,000 fine on West Virginia coach Bob Huggins and issued a public reprimand following Huggins’ comments on basketball officiating after Saturday’s game at Kansas.

“Coach Huggins’ comments following the West Virginia vs. Kansas basketball game violate the Big 12 Conference’s sportsmanship policy,” commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in an official league release. “Because this is Coach Huggins’ third such incident, a public reprimand and a fine of $10,000 is appropriate.”

Bowlsby did not specify the first two incidents or how long he’s been keeping a ledger tracking such incidents. He also did not elaborate on which of Huggins’ latest comments warranted the fine.

It is overwhelmingly likely, however, that Bowlsby is specifically responding to Huggins’ postgame interview on the WVU Radio Network in which he referred to Saturday’s officiating crew of Keith Kimble, Doug Sirmons and Chance Moore as “three blind mice running around.”

Huggins also addressed the officiating in his postgame press conference, but struck a mostly sympathetic tone, stating that inconsistencies are inevitable when officiating crews change every game.

“I’m not going to get into trouble for saying this, because this is not degrading,” Huggins said in what turned out to be a case of wishful thinking. “But you’ve got three guys out there who all see the game differently. We’ve got 10 coaches in the league, and they all see how to play the game of basketball differently.

“So you get a call on one end from a guy who thinks he made the right call, and probably did. And then you don’t get that same call on the other end because there’s another guy down there who didn’t think that was a play that should be called. So then all the sudden you’re saying ‘Why are you calling it down there but not calling it down here?’

“But they’re not. That’s hard on officials. And we’re never going to have the same [exact] crew. I understand that. But I think that makes it hard on them. You’ve got fans booing you when they’re doing the replay thing because you either did or didn’t call something that the other guy did or passed on. And it happens awfully fast.

“It’s a hard deal. If they didn’t get paid so damn much, I’d feel bad for them. But since I know what their paycheck is, I don’t feel a bit sorry for them.”

The Mountaineers have never won at Kansas, including Saturday’s 60-53 loss. Two years ago, Huggins was vocal about the officiating when Kansas went to the line 35 times compared to West Virginia’s two in a 77-69 loss.

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