Veteran college basketball official Ted Valentine was not given a single assignment in the 2018 March Madness tournament. According to him, it all stems from a single incident that happened a couple months ago during a game Valentine was working between North Carolina and Florida State.
Midway through the second half of a close game, North Carolina senior Joel Barry appeared to be pulled back by a Florida State player, preventing him from catching a fast break pass and leading to a Tar Heels turnover. When Barry approached Valentine to ask about the non-call, the ref literally turned his back on the player and refused to engage.
The clip went semi-viral:
UNC's Joel Berry tried to discuss a non-call with referee Ted Valentine.
Valentine was not interested. pic.twitter.com/dP5jeL90pK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 4, 2018
Despite the incident, Valentine was shocked be excluded from the tournament.
“This is not right, it’s just not fair,” Valentine said. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m being punished unjustly.”
He also pointed out that he attempted to fix his mistake by reaching out to the player.
“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.”