Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt’s public revelation that the Big 12 missed a key call in the Red Raiders’ loss to Baylor has not come without consequence.
The Big 12 said Wednesday that Hocutt had been publicly reprimanded and fined $25,000 after his comments following Baylor’s overtime win. Hocutt said in a school statement on Sunday that the conference had admitted the officials on the field incorrectly called an illegal snap that negated a Texas Tech fumble recovery and led to a Baylor score.
“The Big 12 Conference members have developed policies governing the officiating of our contests,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in the statement. “It is vital that senior administration officials, especially the Directors of Athletics, adhere explicitly to these policies. 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.”
Hocutt is also the former chair of the College Football Playoff selection committee. He was on the committee from 2015-17 and served as the chair for the final two years of his tenure.
Texas Tech said in a letter to the Big 12 on Tuesday that Hocutt did not express an opinion on the officiating and instead was merely relaying what the Big 12 had told him.
“We had received many requests for comments and questions, and felt that closure to this issue was in the best interest of all parties involved,” Tech’s letter to Bowslby said. “Our statement does not have any opinion nor does it bring to light any other officiating issues. We simply stated the facts in regards to the communication with the Conference Staff, the decision on the field, and that the play is not reviewable. We give complete deference and respect to the Conference in our statement.”
“Furthermore, it is important to note that we had received email communication from the Conference Staff in regards to this incident which went into more detail than our statement. This email communication would be subject to Freedom of Information Act and would have to be released if requested. We feel that had we not brought closure to this issue this information would have been requested as we have received similar requests in the past.”
Kirby Hocutt sent this to Bob Bowlsby yesterday afternoon at 4:30 in response to the notification of Hocutt potentially violating the league's sportsmanship policies by discussing officiating. pic.twitter.com/YbsKowUG4S
— RedRaiderSports.com (@RedRaiderSports) October 16, 2019
Penalty led to a go-ahead TD
Baylor center Jake Fruhmorgen got called for a false start for an illegal snap after he accidentall snapped the ball into his own backside in the first overtime while thinking that quarterback Charlie Brewer was under center and not in the shotgun.
Texas Tech recovered the botched snap but the play was blown dead because it was a false start penalty. Hocutt said that the conference had admitted the call was incorrect — the play should not have been blown dead — but that it wasn’t reviewable either.
Baylor scored a touchdown in the first overtime. Texas Tech did as well to send the game to a second overtime. But a fumble recovery would have meant a Tech score would have won the game and not simply forced another period. Baylor ended up winning 33-30.
Ex-chancellor solicits donations for Hocutt
Not long after the Big 12 issued its reprimand and fine of Hocutt, former Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance used the statement as a fundraising opportunity.
The Big XII has just reprimanded & fined Kirby Hocutt $25,000 for his statement about the “fumble” at the TT v Baylor game. As a private attorney I’m raising the money to pay the fine. Support Raiders & Kirby. Send to: Red Raider Club
ATTN: Andrea Tirey Box 45055 Lbk TX 79409
— Kent R. Hance (@KentRHance) October 16, 2019
Hance’s fundraising is fun to think about when you consider NCAA rules and Hocutt’s salary. As you know, people can’t directly give money to a college athlete because the NCAA prohibits athletes from profiting of his or her name, image or likeness. And Hocutt makes $1.5 million a year. A $25,000 fine for him is like docking $1,000 from someone making $60,000 a year. It’s not inconsequential. But it’s hardly debilitating.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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