As was expected, No. 5 Houston (20-3) dominated Oklahoma State (10-13) on Tuesday night, by a score of 79-63. However, you couldn’t have known that by asking Cougars’ head coach Kelvin Sampson.
There’s been a shared sentiment from Big 12 basketball coaches over the last couple of weeks that the league’s officiating has been subpar, and Sampson’s chosen method of sharing that feeling on Tuesday night has been the most colorful yet.
Sampson seemed to get upset after a no-call on a push-off of Jamal Shead and had to be restrained before he walked off the court to the locker room after being ejected from the game. He even received a standing ovation and left to chants of “Kel-vin Samp-son!” from the Houston faithful.
After the game, Sampson was asked about the outburst that led to his ejection, and he was candid with the reporter who asked the question.
“I have no thoughts. If I say something to answer your question and they fine me $25,000, what part of that $25,000 are you willing to pay,” Sampson asked the reporter, who clearly declined to cover the fine. “So, don’t ask me silly questions. Because it’s a $25,000 fine if I tell the truth.”
Sampson’s quote comes on the same day that the Big 12 fined Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades $25,000 for saying that the officiating during the Bears’ game on Saturday was “an embarrassment” for the conference. The main issue in that game was the ejection of Baylor head coach Scott Drew, who’d never been ejected in 21 years of coaching prior to Saturday night.
These aren’t isolated incidents either, as Oklahoma head coach Porter Moser gave a one-word answer when asked about Big 12 officiating earlier this week. That’s coming from a coach who will be in the SEC next season, too.
The frustration between Big 12 coaches and the officials calling the league’s games has seemingly reached a boiling point, and while there will be some headline news made of it during the season, changes to the way things are handled, or even who is calling Big 12 games, will be a huge topic of discussion between now and the 2024-25 season.