Big 12 fines Texas Tech AD for officiating talk

NCAAF

The Big 12 issued a $25,000 fine and a public reprimand to Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt on Wednesday after he released a statement about an officiating error in the Red Raiders’ loss at Baylor on Saturday.

Hocutt said in a statement Sunday that the Big 12 had acknowledged an officiating error on an illegal snap ruling during the first overtime period. Baylor’s Jake Fruhmorgen snapped the ball into his backside, and the ball hit the ground, where Texas Tech defensive tackle Jaylon Hutchings recovered. But officials whistled the play dead and ruled an illegal snap on Fruhmorgen, which prevented the turnover. Baylor scored a touchdown two plays later. Texas Tech scored to force a second overtime, where Baylor prevailed 33-30.

“It has been confirmed that the ruling on the field of an illegal snap was incorrect,” Hocutt said in his statement. “The play is not reviewable by rule because it is a dead ball judgment call by the official. I am confident that the Big 12 Conference will deal with the matter internally as they complete the review of the game in its entirety.”

The Big 12 said Hocutt violated league policy by speaking out publicly about officiating.

“It is vital that senior administration officials, especially the directors of athletics, adhere explicitly to these policies,” league commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a prepared statement. “It is very difficult to balance support for an institution’s teams while fully complying with the imperative created by schools acting together to manage athletics competition. On this occasion, the required discipline was not exercised. Kirby Hocutt is one of the very best athletics administrators in the nation, and I am grateful for his assistance and support in resolving this matter.”

Former Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance tweeted Wednesday that he’s raising money to pay Hocutt’s fine.

Hocutt has served as Texas Tech’s athletic director since 2011. He chaired the College Football Playoff selection committee in 2016 and 2017.

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