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For Once, A Referee Was Actually Paid…For Drugs

Zebra?  More like donkey

Remember when you were a kid and you lost your grade school hoops game and you and your parents were always certain that the other team paid the referee off?  I do.   Man, you guys sure did whine about it.  Really, your team just wasn’t as good as the opponent.  But you were a tough little tike who gave a lot of effort.  And anyways,  it’s not about winning, it’s about how you play the game, amirite?

We’ve heard plenty of stories about crooked referees that did turn out to be true, though.  From Tim Donaghy on down.  Eastern Kentucky has put a new twist on referee scandals.  14th/15th Region high school basketball referee Tommy Hutton was convicted on two counts of trafficking a controlled substance. [source]  Hutton also refereed several Sweet Sixteen games, so he is the most likely reason why your favorite team lost (or won) the state championship over the years.  What a jerk.

The video over at WKYT shows Hutton engaging in a drug deal.  He was even caught doing a deal right before going to ref a game.  Kind of sad to see this type of stuff going on around kids.  The funniest part, however, is his excuse the gave the cops — selling BBQ sauce was the reason folks kept coming in and out of his house.  Ha.  That’s rich.

It’s always interesting to think about the subjective angles of referees, whether it be calling it in favor of one team because of preference or because of advantages.  When people with such shady character are involved in high school games, the integrity of the sport plummets, as you have no idea whether the guy with the whistle has an ulterior motive or not.

But Hutton can’t be the only ref out there selling or even doing drugs before games, right?  I’ve seen some pretty awful games where the referee had to be on something.  Let’s make a list of the worst officiated games of all time in which drugs may have played a role:

— UK vs. Duke, 1992:  The stomp?  Come on, man.  Either the ref suffered for glaucoma or was pulling for Duke.  Open your eyes!

— Suns vs. Spurs, Game 3 and Lakers vs. Kings, Game 6:  Tom Donaghy.  ‘Nuff said.

— Monstars vs. Tune Squad, Space Jam 1996:  In order for aliens and stretch armstrong limbs to be involved, some sort of hallucinogenic had to be involved.

Let’s hear your choices…

Article written by Chris Thomas

14 Comments for For Once, A Referee Was Actually Paid…For Drugs



  1. Fat Ryan Lemond
    5:47 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    this just ain’t right. somewhere ameenu timberlake is angry.



  2. Fat Ryan Lemond
    5:47 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    *aminu



  3. Spelling
    6:01 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Is Tom Donaghy Tim’s brother?



  4. What?
    7:08 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Who cares if he sold some pills? The more interesting tidbit in that story to me is that in 1979 he was brought up on MURDER CHARGES. How did he get make a career out of supervising children as a basketball official with a manslaughter conviction?



  5. CatsCatsCats
    7:16 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Armando gallaraga perfect game



  6. patrick
    7:39 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    A lot of details omitted there. Ive known him personally my whole life. Believe what you will, but as someone who had known both sides of Tommy, he was always great with the kids. He reffed many of my own games. Never showed any bias. You shouldn’t attack his reputation as a referee. They invite you to call games in the state tourney for a reason. Seperate his personal life from his rep as a ref. Tommy would give you the shirt off your back as well. Its a different time and culture here. This is really no different from the old timey bootleggersand shiners of old, this is what it has evolved too. Alot of you would be shocked to know what percentage of the population around here is involved in some way with the drug traffic. People will find a way to survive financially. And finally, his mother made legendary bbq sauce, thats the origin of the sauce story. Best bbq ever was Miss Huttons. Say what you will, think ehat you want. Tommy has broke the law, but hes good ppl, for those who understand that concept, and he was a fine ref.



  7. urincatland
    8:11 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I grew up and played Basketball in the 14th Region and I can honestly say that Tommy Hutton was one of the “BEST OFFICALS” if not the “BEST” in that Region. I’ve seen him call several games since I graduated High School and left that Region and I’ve never seem to think he showed any kind of favoritism. In fact I don’t doubt that Tommy is one of the Best Officials in the State. I never would’ve thought that he would’ve done anything like this. Very sad to see someone with the talents he has to do something like this.



  8. 13thRegionfan
    8:38 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Saying that he was one of the best if not the best official in the 14th region is not saying much. The 14th region officials are famous in basketball for no blood no foul, just as bad as the 15th region officials. As for football???? Don’t even get me started on that subject. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my team (won’t say) get screwed by a crew from the 14th region.



  9. Dus10haze
    9:02 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I always like tommy Hutton, called a very fair game when I was in school.



  10. Not
    9:43 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Good ref. Kinda hard to believe this.



  11. 14th Region
    10:31 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    No matter what he may have done in personal life, his professional life was different. He was without a doubt the best referee this state has ever seen.



  12. owl-cat 00
    10:39 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Tommy a good ref. what a joke. If your team was one of the regional powers then Tommy called your way. Tommy never beleived a small school should ever upset a much bigger school and he made sure that it never did. Just stating what alot of people in the 14th region knows!!!!



  13. Invite
    11:42 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    #6. Many times they invite a ref to the state tourney because they are either the most popular with the coaches or most popular with the regional assigner. Been there.



  14. Believe blue
    8:12 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks for judging all officials across the state by one officials “alleged” actions. I’m glad people on thi site don’t place judgment based on your writings. 99% of officials across this state are hard working, fair, and take their trade very serious.