Lane Kiffin fined by Conference USA for goofing on refs with tweet

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin looks down during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against UCF on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin looks down during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against UCF on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

Lane Kiffin’s displeasure with Conference USA officiating is going to cost him some money.

C-USA announced Sunday that Kiffin, in his third season as the head coach at Florida Atlantic, has been fined $5,000 and issued a formal reprimand for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy.

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Kiffin’s violation was this tweet:

Yeah, that’ll do it.

“Conference USA has specific rules and standards regarding sportsmanship which have been adopted by our membership,” commissioner Judy MacLeod said in a statement. “We have an obligation to enforce our rules, including the prohibition of public criticism of officiating.”

Kiffin was not happy with the way his team’s 36-31 loss to Marshall on Friday night was officiated. After the game (which saw the Owls penalized nine times for 90 yards), Kiffin said he wasn’t going to comment on officiating to avoid getting fined. Later in the news conference, however, he did it anyway.

From the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

“I already made the decision I’m not going to get into officiating," Kiffin said. "I don’t know if we lose money in this conference — we probably do — and I don’t have a lot anymore. I’m not going to lose any. I’m about to say what I want to say, but I’m not going to. The assistant AD is back there shaking his head like, ‘Hey, don’t say what you wanna say.’ I’m not gonna say anything.”

Kiffin then stopped biting his tongue and gave some feedback on the game's officiating.

“The game might’ve taken five hours because every call took 10 minutes to figure out how to explain it,” Kiffin said. "I can’t get fined for that.”

Kiffin, who is known for being active on Twitter, couldn’t resist following up with a tweet with an image of blind referees on Saturday. Earlier Sunday, before the fine was announced by the conference, Kiffin said he was just exercising his “freedom of tweet.”

The loss dropped Florida Atlantic’s record to 4-3 (2-1 C-USA) on the year. FAU and Marshall have identical records, but the Herd obviously holds a head-to-head edge. Both teams are behind Western Kentucky in the C-USA East Division standings. The Hilltoppers improved to 5-2 (4-0) with a 30-14 victory over Charlotte on Saturday.

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