I received a few questions via twitter and e-mail yesterday from readers asking if there was any chance the Big 12 Conference will punish Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin for the critical comments he made of the officiating crew following a 72-70 loss at Iowa State on Tuesday.
The answer: Maybe.
According to Rob Carolla, the Big 12′s Director of Communications who works closely with all the men’s basketball teams, interim commissioner Chuck Neinas is aware of the situation and will take a look Martin’s comments to decide if he violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy. If Neinas doesn’t think he did, there will be no penalty. If Neinas thinks he did, his options include handing Martin a private reprimand, a public reprimand, a fine or a suspension.
Anything more severe than a private reprimand will be announced on the conference’s website.
Martin was critical of the officials in both his postgame radio show and postgame news conference. He was upset that Iowa State attempted 26 free throws, while K-State got to the foul line just 11 times. But he was most critical of Rodney McGruder not getting a foul call when he attempted a shot in the lane with about a minute remaining.
“For him not to shoot a free throw is a joke,” Martin said. “An absolute joke.”
Later he said, “Rodney curled it into the paint and got hit again, but he got treated like he’s some inferior kid.”
Another critical remark: “We lead our conference in free throws attempted. We don’t do that because we shoot three-point shots — unbelievable. Coming down the stretch we kept throwing it in there. We never shot a free throw. Every time we took a deep breath on the other side Iowa State shot a free throw.”
In 2007, then Texas Tech coach Bob Knight was publicly reprimanded for describing a call as “horrendous.”
In 2009, Knight’s son, Pat, was suspended one game for making these comments following a tough loss to Texas A&M: “I don’t care right now what the Big 12 thinks. They tell us to send tapes in and that obviously doesn’t work … My kids bust their butt and they have enough of a time playing against A&M let alone have somebody else they have to play against. I just think it’s a shame.”
In Pat Knight’s case, the league came down on him hard because it was his second offense that season.
Martin’s comments on Tuesday are different from both of those cases, and will be treated entirely on their own.
So what will the Big 12 decide to do with Martin? My educated guess (and that’s all it is) is that he will receive a minor punishment, most likely a private reprimand.