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Official in Last Night’s Game Not Allowed to do UK Games?


It is no secret the officiating during last night’s was absolutely atrocious. While I don’t think it caused UK the loss, the inconsistency and bizarre whistle led both teams to never find a rhythm and made the game at times unwatchable. One of those officials, Roger Ayers, is a clear Calipari foe, with the Cats going 2-5 in games where he is on the call, and many of those including technicals given Calipari’s way (he has given Calipari the second most of the coach’s career). But now we learn today that there is another oddity from the crew in Fayetteville.

Another member of the threesome was James Breeding of Louisville. Until this season, Breeding had never officiated a UK game. We now many know the answer as to why: From a 2009 profile of him we learn,

After a decade of officiating at the college level, Breeding already is established in his profession. He worked three consecutive years in the National Invitation Tournament before last year’s debut at the Big East and NCAA tournaments. He’ll work all three again this year.

This season, Breeding has worked 52 regular-season games – an average of three per week. Many were nationally televised, although none involved U of L or the University of Kentucky. Breeding earned a bachelor’s degree in sport administration from U of L in 1998, and the Big East, where the Cardinals play, doesn’t allow him to work any U of L games.

Similarly, the SEC, where UK plays, doesn’t schedule Breeding to officiate Wildcat games because of his in-state ties.

So as a UL graduate, Breeding has been unable to work UL games for his career (which makes sense) and was never assigned to UK games either because of his “in-state ties.” But that changed this year? He was on the Cleveland State game (which the Cats nearly lost) and this game against Arkansas. However at some point, the SEC had decided that the conference didn’t believe Breeding should be working UK games due to these “in-state ties.” And now apparently the conference believes these “in-state ties” don’t affect his judgment anymore. The SEC should probably explain why.

Article written by Matt Jones

74 responses to “Official in Last Night’s Game Not Allowed to do UK Games?”

  1. Gregory Bush AKA UKCatsRedsColts

    Ah Ha,The jig is up.

  2. Dillon

    So, are we using this as the reason we lost? Cause I’m kind of tired of that…

    1. Elwood Blues

      Read the second sentence. Matt is just stating facts, not opinions about the game.

    2. brittany

      It clearly says first line, “While I don’t think it caused UK the loss..” so no one is saying officiating is the reason… I haven’t heard any UK fan use that as an excuse, we are not UL fans. It was obvious the missed free throws and the mistake on the last play did it for us. But again the officiating was horrible for both but clearly they dislike the cats that’s all.

    3. CatsFanFrankfort

      No, I agree with Dillon. The Cleveland State line is ridiculous (‘…which we nearly lost’). I mean, come on, Matt. Seems like you’re grasping at straws. I totally agree with the fact that neither team was able to find a rhythm and the officiating had far too much impact on the game. That is not what basketball should be. But I also guarantee that had we won the game, this post does not go up. You can say you would have posted it regardless, but I find that very hard to believe. We lost. It sucked, but it happened. I screamed at the refs the entire game too. (Especially the Polson rebound that was called a foul. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.) But it wasn’t why we lost, as you point out. Its the other people that have blamed the refs. The biggest problem I find is that if we keep talking about this, all the other fan bases (Louisville mostly) will use it as fuel against us and say we whine about refs. And they would be right.

    4. nadams

      If Matt didn’t think the refs cost UK the game then why would he go to all the effort to dig up information on the officials and then write about it. Some of you need to use your head. Of course he’s going to say “While I don’t think it caused UK the loss” that way he has is back side covered.

  3. Gil's

    Not the reason we lost. Hit your damn free throws – middle school girls shoot better. That said, ditch these sorry SOB refs. What are they, government workers with all the bennies and no accountability?

  4. Robshairgel

    Just like players,I’m sure Refs let the moment of a big game effect how they call it. Throw in his Louisville allegiance and that’s 3-4 emotional look at me calls.

    1. SW52

      I attended school with James from 7th grade through graduation…we both graduated from Christian Academy of Louisville. Jimmy is one of the best ref’s in the game and he was a lifelong Kentucky fan…not Louisville…but living in Louisville, he got his BA from them after serving in the Air Force. Good guy….and no “allegience” to the Cards.

    2. M

      So SW52, if it’s true he’s a lifelong Kentucky fan, he should not be calling UK games either way.

    3. SW52

      True. Not sure why he’s been assigned twice this year.

  5. bmt22033

    The officiating was very bad last night. There is no doubt about that. And I was genuinely surprised that Roger Ayers didn’t call a technical on Calipari for *something*. That said, the officials botched a lot of calls and not all of them were against us. So, no, this officiating crew shouldn’t be officiating but the loss can’t be blamed on them. Any number of things could have made the difference in the outcome of the game and most of them were within our player’s control (FT shooting comes to mind, as does defense). We did out rebound them handily and shot a good percentage, after all.

  6. Not surprising

    Seriously, find me someone who could say with a straight face, “Even with the new rules, I could see a logical explanation of why that small scrappy team would shoot more free throws and take almost twice as many shots than the gigantic and physical team that UK puts on the floor?”

    “19 FGs attempted in 20 minutes” AGAINST ARKANSAS? It’s laughable, really.

  7. js

    Officiating will not lose you ball games, period. They can however dictate how a game will be played and make games closer than they should be at times. THE ONLY TIME YOU WILL HEAR ME COMPLAIN IS WHEN THEY ARE INCONSISTENT. BELIEVE ME, THEY WERE VERY INCONSISTENT. On both sides, one time they would call touchy fouls, the next let them beat the hell out of each other.

  8. another foul

    B-ball is by far the hardest sport to referee and every game will have at least a couple of missed calls, even by the best. That said, there are too many incompetent ones calling SEC games, including the trio last evening. The bad calls and missed calls went into double digits with the most egregious being the rebound call on Polson. If a person sees that poorly the only whistle he needs is to call his guide dog. That call went beyond just being bad and into the realm of “Does he call what he sees or what he wants to see?”.

  9. Haters

    Hey there jack, everbody hates on the Cats even the zebra’s!

  10. Taboo

    Shh Matt, you’re not supposed to comment on horrible officiating. It means you’re “making excuses” even if you clearly state it didn’t cause the loss.

  11. Ace

    I don’t usually blame refs but this is odd. Calipari has a 2 and 5 record when Ayers is on whistle? I would like to know the statistical percentage for every ref that has officiated all of Cal’s games since being at UK? Cal has not lost many games.

    Wasn’t there some NBA refs investigated by FBI a few years ago for point shaving? I can’t remember but this is definitely worth looking into.

    I venture to say that Cal has no worse losing percentage with every other official in his career

    1. Gap Tooth Danny

      Agreed! My guess is Jerry Tipton is busily crunching the numbers right now. However, he will only report the numbers that cast Cal in a negative light AMIRIGHT?

    2. You're Welcome
    3. Al B Frank

      Thanks for the link, “You’re Welcome!” Pretty cool stuff there.

  12. Jpnixon

    I had a friend that was once a div 1 ref told me that was the worst one sided game he’s ever seen in his life and those three guys should never be allowed on the div 1 again.. He’s 75. He’s watched a lot and is not a UK fan

  13. Ace

    People need to understand that refs control about 70percent of the game. They can control momentum which is huge, they control pace of the game and essentially they control who is playing in the game by the way they call fouls.

    Refs in basketball are more likely to help determine the outcome of a game than any other sport other than WCW wrestling.

    1. of Base

      At least WCW refs get knocked out occasionally but wake up in time to make a bad call. College refs don’t have that excuse to fall back on.

  14. BlueDy9asty

    So why is he now allowed to do a UK game, Never should a UofL grad be allowed to do this, it raises to many eyebrows.

  15. UK Wildcats

    The head of officiating for basketball for the SEC is Jake Bell, who just so happens to live in Lexington. Perhaps someone can get a hold of him to get an explanation.

  16. Ho Lee Fuk

    That 45 minute game lasted 3 hours!

  17. Isaac in Louisville

    He DID ref one of our games in 2010, the tourney game against Cornell!

  18. cracka
    1. W.W.B.B.N.D?

      Thanks for the link. I noticed that UK has lost 4 in a row of the games Ayers has called. Also, UK is 3-7 in the last 10 games he has called. UK won by 2 pts., 2pts., and 3pts in their 3 wins.

  19. Eightisnotenough
    1. Isaac in Louisville

      Haha, look up.

  20. Micki DeMoss's Mustache

    There are bad referees, and there are biased referees. At first glance, I just though last night was a badly called game. But the Ayers stat as well as the above information is starting to make me question that. Even if it was simply a badly-called game, with missed calls falling equally against both teams, it is still likely to skew against UK. Part of Kentucky’s recent success has been found in wearing teams down; like Matt has pointed out, around the 10:00 mark of the second half they have usually made a run. In a free-flowing game with few interruptions, and a superior bench than their competitors, it’s easy to see how this can happen. However, in a badly-officiated game with many interruptions, and several lengthy ones such as those that occurred last night, the inferior team has time to rest and recover. This lessens Kentucky’s athletic advantage. Bottom line, “junky” games are going to be somewhat more difficult for the Cats to win, at least in my estimation.

    1. Big Dave

      Well said. I watched a replay of the game today and it was even more apparent that Ref(s) had an agenda to slow the game down and take away the factor of superior athleticism and length by making it a FT contest.

  21. Basketball Bennie

    Basketball is the easiest sport for a ref to try and control, or change the flow of a game. Las Vegas betting lines move all of the time by who is calling games.

  22. rainman

    One thing is undeniable, the refs definately effected the flow of the game!
    In fact, there was no flow thanks to them! Throw in Mr. T Ayers, and this
    Losrville homer and what do you think is going to happen?

  23. fouls

    I find it interesting that Ayers reffed the UK-North Carolina games where there were 57 fouls called and 1 technical. Of course the technical was against UK..keep a close eye on the next UK game he refs. I compared the fouls called in other games hes officiated this season and there only averging about 30 foul calls a game. Why such a big difference?

  24. Issel's two front teeth

    Arkansas did not play good enough to beat Kentucky! This is one game where bad(bias) officiating did cost Kentucky the game. If you don’t think this three man crew doesn’t have conversations(and give there opinions about the coaches, players) about games before they officiate them, then you are crazy! There were so many ball knocked out of bounds calls that went against UK and were wrong, phantom fouls called, calls not called(Portis hacked Randle on the Dunk, no call!) He should have fouled out 5 min into the second half! Quarles tried to dunk over Randle, and he had all ball! Foul called! Polson rebound, Foul called! Quarles slides out of bounds should have been UK ball! Foul called! Harrison pushed, called for over-and-back, No foul called!
    Yes! Bias officiating can and does effect the outcome of games! It certainly did in this game. that last dunk should have decided if Arkansas lost by double digits or not.

    1. Jaybird

      AP’s block first half was all ball and so plain to see. I can’t count the times JR was mugged by multiple people, but that’s been happening all year. James young bad all ball on the deflection that Dykes said is a foul for swiping down every time. Well, only if you’re a crappy ref that can’t make the correct call if it’s clean. That whole game was so ridiculous. That said, we still should’ve won.

  25. Issel's two front teeth


  26. KyFan51

    So Breeding nearly cost UK the Clev. State game? Come on, missed free throws, youth and inexperience are what’s costing UK games, very little if anything, has to do w the refs. Cats usually shoot more free throws than the opponent but also usually shoot a lower percentage. Or do we need to call in Oliver Stone on this one?

    1. Beavis

      Very little to do with the refs ? Please,,,,,, FT shooting did not help and if we had hit a higher percentage we would still have won in spite of some really bad calls but to say the refs did not effect the game,,,,can’t buy that one. Sorry.

  27. Big Dave

    I really hope someone investigates this officiating crew and I would have said the same thing if we had somehow won. I will never forget this game (sadly) because it was the worst officiating I have ever seen. It was beyond referee incompetency or the difficulty to referee a basketball game, there was that feeling that something isn’t right here.

  28. wabaco

    The second sentence states, “While I don’t think it caused UK the loss…” yet goes on to later to imply that because a ref was a UofL graduate it made a difference in the officiating. Then concluding with a demand for an explanation from the SEC as to why he was allowed to officiate. This is a great piece for conspiracy theorists and paranoid UK fans. I for one am part of the fan base that knows that 14 missed free throws, 17 turnovers and ball watching on the last play cost us the game not some UofL graduate ref.

  29. Brent

    Several incorrect statements in matt’s article….

    1. James HAS worked previous UK games. Specifically an NCAA tournament game against Cornell a couple of years ago.
    2. Just b/c he went to school at UL doesn’t mean he is a UL fan. He was a UK fan in high school but just happened to attend UL.

    1. Matt

      Never said Breeding was a UL fan, he just said that he was a UL graduate.

    2. SW52

      I attended school with James from 7th grade through graduation…we both graduated from Christian Academy of Louisville. Jimmy is one of the best ref’s in the game and he was a lifelong Kentucky fan…not Louisville…but living in Louisville, he got his BA from them after serving in the Air Force. Good guy….and no “allegience” to the Cards.

    3. Wi Tu Hi

      Jimmy IS NOT ONE OF THE BEST REF’S in college basketball. Unless, you are talking about compared to the 3 guys that called the UK-Arkansas game.

  30. Elliot Richards

    If anyone posting to the contrary thinks that was anything like a college basketball game should be officiated they should watch the game sober.

  31. BlueCat
  32. I_Want_to_Believe

    “He was on the Cleveland State game (which the Cats nearly lost) and this game against Arkansas.”

    Clearly the reffing was biased against UK in the game against Cleveland State, right? You’re really approaching Coast to Coast AM levels of conspiracy grasping with this one, Matt.

  33. Rod Winkler

    Not making excuses…..but it’s totally unfair that we have the same amount of fouls and free throw attempts as our opponents!!

  34. Jatt Monez

    Oh I guess the in-state ties is why that harrison kid just stood there looking at the basket instead of boxing out…. makes sense.

  35. Cody

    I can assure you James Breeding is a UK fan believe it or not. I know his son very well and we talk UK hoops regularly. His dad raised him to be a UK fan.

    1. Beavis

      Then he should not be allowed to ref UK games.

  36. Hypocrite!!!

    Matt Jones, you are one sorry sack of shit. You called Louisville fans crybabies and whiners for saying the officials were atrocious at Rupp Arena back on December 28th, and here you are, sure as the sun rises in the east — doing the same thing.

    So in the spirit of Matt Jones, let me just say Matt Jones, “crybaby whiner, waaahh!”

    1. Rae

      Nowhere did Matt blame the loss on the referees. Read the beginning of the article. He just said that one man who previously was not chosen to do Kentucky games by the SEC because of state ties has suddenly been allowed to. Was this a written rule or unwritten custom that the SEC decided doesn’t matter anymore? Why has the SEC changed its mind?

  37. really

    All these card fans claiming Breeding is a uk fan. really, what a bunch of horse crap. The man grew up in louisville, went to UofL, worked inter murals at UofL, Not allowed to work UofL games, let me repeat not allowed to work UofL games. I’m calling bull crap on him being a UK fan. He’ll if he was a uk fan working a ky game, the NCAA would be investigating uk.

    1. SW52

      Your WRONG. I attended school with James from 7th grade through graduation…we both graduated from Christian Academy of Louisville. Jimmy is one of the best ref’s in the game and he was a lifelong Kentucky fan…not Louisville…but living in Louisville, he got his BA from them after serving in the Air Force. Good guy….and no “allegience” to the Cards.

    2. SW52

      Also, how the hell could the NCAA investigate him doing Kentucky games? Kentucky doesn’t assign officials to games! They’d need to investigate themselves, lol.

  38. Good

    Makes up a little for the hose job uofl got in Rupp. It never fails. Uofl always has one or two guys with 2 fouls before the first timeout. Oh well, neither team is going to the final 4 this year. So, who cares.

    1. Beavis

      The problem with U of L this year is the same problem Duke has,,,,,they can’t guard anyone without putting their hands on them and pushing them off their line. Hose job my ass,,,the U of L guards are to small and to slow to stay in front of anyone. As for the Final Four,,,,I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of U of L’s chances of getting there.

  39. yesterday's wine

    It seems to me if in the early moments of a game, if an official gets demonstratively excited when he makes a call the home crowd is sure to like, the visiting team is in for a long night. It happened in the Arkansas game. How may times does an official need to tap his leg to let everyone know an out of bounds ball came off a players leg? Why does an official need to emphasize like a running back indicating a first down would when demonstrating the direction an out of bounds situation is going? I saw that early on in the Arkansas game and just turned off the TV and went to bed. Figured I’d save myself the high blood pressure and check out the highlights in the morning.

  40. Chad

    What I think would solve a lot of the problem is full time refs. These guys have other full time jobs so they have no time to practice and watch tape. Look at nba officials, they are full time and they are way better in a much harder league to officiate. The NCAA makes plenty of money to pay guys full time.

  41. barn

    worst officiated games i’ve watched this year are big 10(?). i don’t think the refs got the memo about enforcing the ‘non-contact’ rule. but very weird calls in uk/ark game

  42. ragincajun

    Ayers is a great official. He helped us beat WKU a few years ago.

  43. The Gambler

    Even though Breeding graduated from Louisville … I believe he is a UK fan. I know several people who graduated with him from Christian Academy of Louisville and they all say he is a Kentucky fan.

    1. SW52

      It is true. I graduated with him in 1989. We had just 22 in that class…who do you know?

    2. M

      A ref that is supposedly a fan of a school should not be allowed to ref their games for obvious reasons. I thought this came up recently where a ref posted pics on Facebook prior to a game, and was pulled from calling that game.

  44. M

    SW52, if Ayers graduated in 1989 how old do you think he is now?

    1. M

      Oh Breeding, n/m

  45. jay davis

    The SEC has lost many good officials the last few years and they is why people like Breeding has got into the conference. Till they get a new superisor of officials things will not get better. He was at the game on Tesday and all three officials were intinidated and it affected their performance.

  46. Jimbob

    Arkansas has a very aggressive, high foul rate type of defense. They slap, grab, and initiate contact on every possession. They remind me of Nolan Richardson’s Arkansas teams, the Pitino Cats, and Pitino’s UofL teams. There’s nothing wrong with this type of defense, and I loved it when Pitino coached UK…it’s exciting and can result in quick runs and be demoralizing for the opposing team. However, this type of defense produces a ton of fouls, and it is successful because the fouls are offset by TOs and bad shots caused by the heavy defensive pressure.

    Calipari teaches a low foul rate type of defense, without the slapping and grabbing. Given the differences in style, there’s no way Arkansas should have had less fouls than Kentucky. There were many, many instances where Arkansas hacked a Kentucky player without a foul call, and then Kentucky was called for a slight bump or touch foul at the other end of the court. It was ridiculous.

    We all expect bad calls…basketball is a very tough sport to officiate and calls are missed. However it was truly disappointing to see the blatant inconsistencies. People can say that it was bad for both teams, and I’m sure there were bad calls against Arkansas, but if you break down each play of the game (and I did this for a 3 minute stretch in the first half), the inconsistencies were obvious. It was one of the worst displays of sustained consistently bad officiating that I have ever seen.

  47. bigblue091812

    If both teams had hit all their FT’s the game would’ve been tied 99-99, so I guess it would’ve come down to who had any players left.