In response to a horribly-officiated game with an unfathomable ending, two referees have been suspended for two MAC games and will not be considered for the MAC tournament in March.
The Mid-American Conference has issued a statement:
On Saturday, January 23, 2016, at the end of the second overtime in the Ball State vs. Eastern Michigan men's basketball game, several errors were committed by two of the officials assigned to that game.
In response to these errors, the Mid-American Conference has suspended the officials from two conference games and they will not be considered for 2016 post-season assignments in the conference tournament.
The Mid-American Conference holds its officiating staff to the highest standards. To that end, multiple errors in judgment on one play, as in this case, must be met with swift and firm disciplinary action.
"The final play of the game was not handled appropriately by several officials and unfortunately took away from what was a highly competitive and entertaining game for the competing students and fans," MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. "I along with our membership have higher expectations and as a result have directed our coordinator of men's basketball officials to take appropriate disciplinary action, including multiple-game suspensions."
The public statement does not include the names of the two officials that will be suspended, so one of Todd Williams, John Caston and Robert Kruger are safe.
Eastern Michigan was up by two in double overtime against Ball State. Brandon Nazione grabs a rebound on a missed shot by Ball State, fouled repeatedly, Ryan Weber eventually found himself with the ball, clearly traveled, clearly traveled some more, still no whistles blew. Weber dished it out to Francis Kiapway to hit a 3-point shot with 0.7 seconds to go in the game for the Cardinals to win the game.
When you want to complain about officiating where you are, remember this from the MAC. My word. Ball State wins. pic.twitter.com/Jz1Mdo4LFi— Ray Curren (@currenrr) January 23, 2016
After the game, EMU head coach Rob Murphy was upset that the game ever even got to that point to begin with, but called out the MAC and called for accountability. His response to the play:
"It was terrible, all three officials watched us get the rebound, consistently get fouled, they stole the ball from hitting Brandon (Nazione)'s hand, Ethan (Alvano) had it, they hit his hand. The officials watched him travel, and they watched them shoot a three. You don't blame a game on officials, but in my 20 years of coaching (from HS to college) that's the worst ignored call, or sequence, I've ever seen. Those guys did a bad job throughout the game and in particular on that play.
"It was unfair. It's not fair to end the game that way when all you have to do is blow the whistle, put us to the free throw line, we miss or make and Ball State gets a chance to come back down. But for us to get a huge stop, something I've been talking about, and [Nazione] to get a backside rebound, and we get that call, it's unfortunate and it's unfair, and you hurt kids, and you hurt a program. Because we played well enough to win the game, we deserved that game or a chance to go to the line to try to seal the game.
"But those guys purposely ignored it. The problem is there's no accountability. I can send it in and talk to the head of officials but nothing will happen. It'll be the same guys you see on the next game doing the same exact thing. It's been going on all year, this was just blatant where I and the whole arena could see it."