Have you wondered who’s officiating UK’s games in the Bahamas and where they came from? No? Well, Jerry Tipton looked into it. The three-man crew are Cynthiana natives that called the UK Bahamas Trip four years ago. UK is footing all the expenses for John Hampton, Brent Hampton and Bart Lenox while they call all four of UK’s games this weekend.
Tipton notes that all three are employed by the Southeastern Conference and call SEC games during the season. None are allowed to officiate Kentucky games, but Tipton interviewed former officials and coaches to see if there could be a potential conflict of interest.
Tipton created a hypothetical that could cause some issues with the three officials from Kentucky. What if one (or all three) were calling an Alabama vs. LSU basketball game and the results could impact UK’s standing in the SEC? It’s a fair question, but longtime SEC official Don Rutledge completely dismissed the idea of collusion.
“If you don’t trust people more than that, you’re an idiot,” he told Tipton. “And the film doesn’t lie. You go back and look at film and you show me something, and then you prove cause. I have never been on the floor with a referee I knew was cheating in all the years I was a referee. I’ve never see one. Now, I’ve seen some get mad and a get a little vindictive.”
Tipton does say there haven’t been rumors questioning the integrity of the Hampton brothers or Lenox. He even says the three are well respected across the league.
John Hampton went on KSR this morning and was asked about the article.
“I just took it as Jerry being Jerry,” John Hampton said. He later went on to say in his interview with Matt Jones that Tipton took the article “a little too far” in discussing hypotheticals.
I actually didn’t have any major issues with Tipton’s article. I’ve met some of these officials and I don’t think there should be any questions about their integrity, but it was a nice look inside how John Calipari runs his practices. Tipton did create a somewhat negative hypothetical, but as he notes, if UK were tied with Alabama atop the SEC and the Cats were playing LSU with three Alabama natives officiating the game, some fans wouldn’t be happy.
However, I think Rutledge summed it up best. You have to trust officials are calling games for the right reasons and if there is any funny business the tapes will tell the entire story.
Anywho, an interesting read on a somewhat slow news day. Read Tipton’s piece HERE.