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Texas Tech coach Mike Leach doesn't regret blasting officials

Big 12 reviewing coach's actions after loss to Texas

09:25 PM CST on Monday, November 12, 2007

By CHIP BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
chipbrown@dallasnews.com

Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach said Monday he doesn't have any regrets about his criticism of the officiating after his team's 59-43 loss at Texas on Saturday.

"I wouldn't change anything about what I said," Leach said Monday on the weekly Big 12 coaches conference call.

Big 12 assistant commissioner Bob Burda said Monday "the review process has begun" regarding Leach's comments. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe was expected to respond as early as today. The league prohibits coaches from commenting on officiating.

When Kansas coach Mark Mangino blasted the officiating following a loss to Texas in 2004, he was fined $5,000. However, Mangino apologized for his comments. Leach could be in for a stiffer fine for not doing the same.

Leach said Monday coaches should be able to speak out about officiating, although most of the other league coaches disagreed.

"We're not allowed to comment on officiating, and I'm good with that," Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione said. "We have channels with which to communicate our concerns to the league."

After Saturday's game, Leach was critical of calls on a third-quarter drive. Leach felt officials incorrectly ruled a deep pass to Michael Crabtree as incomplete.

Leach then ripped an official review that overturned what was ruled a touchdown catch by Edward Britton. Leach was also upset about a holding call that nullified a touchdown catch by Danny Amendola because he felt quarterback Graham Harrell was the victim of a personal foul for roughing on the play.

Leach on Saturday said his team was the victim of "atrociously bad calls" in a 35-31 loss to Texas in Lubbock last year. He called the league's review process "a sham" and suggested there may be a bias by officials in favor of Texas because the Longhorns are "higher bowl-wise."

Without naming him, Leach took issue with referee Randy Christal, an Austin resident, working the game.

"This is the second year in a row that an Austin resident has negatively affected the integrity of the officiating," Leach said Saturday. "I think it's disturbing that Austin residents are involved in this."

In 2005, when Texas Tech defeated Oklahoma, 23-21, in Lubbock on a disputed touchdown by Taurean Henderson, the line judge in the game was Kelly Deterding of Lubbock.

When asked about that 2005 situation and if officials should be barred from working games in their hometown, Leach said, "My comments on Saturday pretty thoroughly answered that question."

On Monday, Leach said he'd like to the see the replay official be independent of the crew working on the field.

"Ideally, they wouldn't even know one another," said Leach, who on Saturday even suggested having "out-of-conference officials" work Texas-Texas Tech games.

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