One of college basketball’s most well-known and recognizable officials will be absent from the NCAA tournament.
Ted Valentine will not work the tournament this month, just a year after officiating the Final Four, for what he believes to be fallout from the incident in which he turned his back on North Carolina’s Joel Berry during a game, he told ESPN on Monday.
“This is not right, it’s just not fair,” Valentine told ESPN. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m being punished unjustly.”
Valentine said he was told of the decision Saturday by NCAA coordinator of officials J.D. Collins.
“We talked about the Joel Berry situation and how he had a discussion with the Big Ten. But I told him, ‘I fixed the situation,’” Valentine said.
During a game in January, Valentine turned his back while Berry lobbied him after a call.
“I screwed up,” Valentine said. “But I went back a week later and apologized, and he and I were joking and kidding. It was no big deal. I even pulled him out of a situation where he could have gotten a technical foul.”
Valentine certainly has a reputation – and the nickname TV Teddy – but a big constituency of coaches would be glad to have him on the whistle for a big game. His conduct with Berry was unbecoming, but shelving him during the NCAA tournament seems like a huge reaction.