It’s safe to say college football fans around the country were shocked when Benny Snell was ejected from Kentucky’s bowl game last season. And, evidently, the BBN is not over it yet.
During yesterday’s UK football women’s clinic, Mark Stoops took about half an hour for a question-and-answer session with the most dedicated ladies of the UK fanbase. And the women did not go easy on him. From asking about defensive improvements to recruiting in-state players, the women had hard-hitting questions, and they wanted answers.
One woman spoke for Kentucky fans everywhere when she asked about referee accountability: “is there something the coaches can do to tell [the referees] they’re not doing a good job and they need to do better?”
Coach Stoops started off with a very stereotypical “coaches talk” answer before getting a little more honest:
“It is a definite point of frustration for me as well. But let me start by saying this: I really do appreciate our Director of Officials in our league,” Stoops said. “They do a great job, and we have really good officials in our league. If you hadn’t noticed, look at our bowl games the past couple of years.”
“Our officials are obviously going to make some mistakes and some calls are going to go against you. That’s part of this game. We all have to live with it, deal with it, overcome it and win in spite of it. But by-and-large they do a great job and it is very fair. But mistakes are going to happen. You can tell I’m being very political here because I can’t win this conversation. If I say what I want to say… well, that is a point of frustration for me.”In the name of being fair, Stoops did point out that die-hard fans are more likely to notice and be upset about seemingly-petty calls against Kentucky or seemingly-obvious no-calls against Cats’ opponents.
“We notice it because you’re passionate about Kentucky and I’m passionate about Kentucky,” Stoops said. “It’s a hard livelihood. When things happen that way, it’s personal and it’s hard.”
In terms of what Coach Stoops can do to help with official accountability, he spoke on his relationship with the director of SEC officials and how he works to try and keep the calls balanced.
“So what I do, when I send in calls to our Director of Officials in our league, I observe what they say and when they send me a voiceover back, I store all of those. I’m constantly trying to do my part to keep it fair,” Stoops said. “I’m constantly doing my part to make sure at some point it’s getting to 50-50 with calls for you and against you, breaking even on those types of situations. We’re getting better so we can overcome those things, just like the bowl game.”
And how do those conversations go?
“I’ll keep some of those conversations I have with those people private,” Stoops laughed.
Hopefully, those conversations can be kept to a minimum this season.