In what comes as a surprise to nearly no one, the Atlantic Coast Conference issued a public reprimand, as well as institutional fines to Pittsburgh and Florida State, following outspoken displeasure by coaches Pat Narduzzi and Jimbo Fisher with conference officiating following their teams’ losses to Virginia Tech and Clemson, respectively, this weekend.
The action by the conference against these two schools comes to light following a trying weekend for ACC officials, in which blatant missed calls and inconsistency in penalty rulings littered many of the games across the schedule.
In a press release issued by the conference on Sunday afternoon, institutional fines amounted to $20,000 for Florida State, and $5,000 for Pittsburgh, as a result of violations to the ACC’s Sportsmanship Policy.
The policy states that, “Public criticism of officials or public comments evaluating the officiating of particular contests is not in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics. Individuals associated with the athletics program are prohibited, therefore, from commenting while acting in an official capacity on officiating other than directly to the Conference office.”
The funds that will be received from the fines will be placed into the Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship account, and the ACC will have no further comment on the matter, per the release.
While there is little argument that both coaches were justified in their criticism of the conference officiating this weekend, there is no question that the way in which they went about expressing their thoughts does more harm than good for the conference.
The officiating must be better moving forward and the ACC must do everything in their power to make sure that officials are held just as accountable for their actions as the coaches have been for their comments this weekend.
Regardless, the ACC has made it clear that the behavior of Narduzzi and Fisher will not be tolerated, which ultimately may lead to a more private complaint process in the event that coaches find issues with officiating within their games throughout the rest of the season.