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.