The University of Massachusetts football team fell to 2-4 on Saturday, after a 58-42 loss to Ohio University that saw the Bobcats score on nine straight possessions and rack up a school-record 664 yards of offense.
But somehow, UMass coach Mark Whipple thought it was the officials’ fault that his team lost, and that one of his players was “raped” during a non-call.
Terrible word choice
Whipple ripped into the officials after his team’s loss, upset about a fourth-quarter play. Ohio’s Javon Hagan got an interception with his team up, 55-42, and the officials initially dropped a flag to call pass interference on another Bobcats defender during the play.
After a discussion, the flag was picked up, and Whipple got himself flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty.
Jason Arkley of the Athens Messenger transcribed Whipple’s post-game news conference, where Whipple used a terrible verb choice to describe the non-interference call:
Question: Coach, at halftime you talked about this being a shootout; your thoughts on the second half?
Whipple: “Our guys played hard; they have a good team. I thought it was… MAC (conference) got their revenge on us, officiating-wise — the worst I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve been in the SEC, I’ve been in the NFL and I’ve never seen anything so bad: six holds against none until at the end. At least when I got a 15-yarder the guy finally threw a flag. I thought our guys fought hard at the end there. We couldn’t make enough plays.
“We had a chance there with 16 down and they rape us, and he picks up the flag. So our guys fought. They have a good team and they were home, and I thought our guys were certainly ready to play because we went up 14-nothing. We just have to get ready for next week. We didn’t make enough plays to beat a team like that.”
No, Mark. A player possibly committing pass interference is not sexual assault.
Asked about the play specifically a moment later, Whipple used “absolutely mugged” to describe what happened to Minutemen receiver Andy Isabella, noting that the same official that didn’t call the pass interference had called two holds on his team.
He further criticized the officials by saying they didn’t “let the kids decide” the game.
Oh – the head referee for the game was Amanda Sauer, the first female official in the MAC and Big Ten.
UMass athletic director Ryan Bramford told MassLive.com earlier Sunday that he had “no comment other than we are aware of the comments and are reviewing them now.”
Later Sunday evening, the school tweeted out a statement saying Whipple has been suspended for one week without pay “from all coaching activities” including the team’s coming game against South Florida, and must also participate in mandated sensitivity training through the school.
“I am deeply sorry for the word I used on Saturday to describe a play in our game,” Whipple said in the statement. “It is unacceptable to make use of the word ‘rape’ in the way I did and I am very sorry for doing so. It represents a lack of responsibility on my part as the leader of this program and a member of this university’s community, and I am disappointed with myself that I made this comparison when commenting after our game.”
Defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham will serve as acting head coach this week.
UMass is 14-40 under Whipple, who began his second stint with the team in 2014.
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