Texas Tech's Leach Fined $10,000 For Criticizing Officials

Wednesday, November 14th 2007, 12:45 pm
By: News On 6

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was fined a record $10,000 by the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday for his harsh criticism of game officials following last week's loss to Texas.

The fine doubled the previous high by the league, levied twice before, against Kansas coach Mark Mangino three years ago and former Kansas State basketball coach Jim Wooldridge during the 2005-06 season.

Leach was reprimanded and put on notice that “any future such behavior will result in a more serious penalty, including a possible suspension,” the conference said in a news release.

Leach and Texas Tech were not commenting on the fine, school spokesman Chris Cook said. The Red Raiders will host No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday.

After No. 12 Texas beat Texas Tech 59-43 on Saturday, Leach condemned the officiating crew in Austin, calling their work “a complete travesty.”

The eighth-year coach was upset officials disallowed two Tech touchdowns in the third quarter, the first on an overrule after reviewing video that clearly showed the receiver let the ball hit the ground. A TD pass on the next play was negated by a holding penalty. Leach also wanted, but didn't get, a flag for roughing the quarterback.

“Coach Leach's public statements called into question the integrity and competence of game officials and the conference's officiating program,” Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said.

At his weekly news conference Monday, Leach did not retreat from his comments but avoided repeating them.

On Saturday, Leach noted without naming him that referee Randy Christly lives in Austin.

He said the conference needs “to take a serious look'” at having officials from other conferences call the Tech-Texas games as well as others involving matchups where he claimed there is proven to be a bias by officials.

Mangino was fined $5,000 for suggesting after a last-second loss to Texas that officials wanted the Longhorns to win because it kept alive their hopes for a lucrative Bowl Championship Series bid.

During the 2005-06 basketball season, Wooldridge was docked $5,000 for criticizing officials after a 71-70 loss at Oklahoma.