N.C. State AD takes charge for team, fans

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
(Updated Wednesday, March 14 - 7:10 am)

The controversy surrounding the end of North Carolina’s ACC tournament semifinal win over rival N.C. State on Saturday appears to have spilled out of Philips Arena and into the inboxes of Wolfpack fans.

An email attributed to N.C. State athletics director Debbie Yow to select supporters showed up on multiple websites Monday.

The email responded to supporters who have “voiced a feeling of distrust for the fairness and impartiality of officiating as related to State basketball.”

Yow, in an email to the News & Record, neither confirmed nor denied she sent the initial email, saying she “cannot answer” whether the correspondence came from her.

Saturday’s win came with some intrigue at the end, as UNC’s Kendall Marshall drove the lane, collided with N.C. State defender Alex Johnson — Johnson fell to the floor — and collected himself to hit the eventual game-winning bank shot with 10.2 seconds to go.

Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried, not to mention the N.C. State cheering contingent in Atlanta, felt a charge should have been called against Marshall, especially since a similar call went against Wolfpack star C.J. Leslie earlier.

The email says the athletic department is discussing with the league “the widely held view of officiating inconsistencies” in the Wolfpack’s loss to UNC.

“Right now,” the email said, “we are preparing the film of missed calls/no calls to send to the Director of Officiating (John Clougherty) at the ACC for his review and feedback.”

Saturday’s game came three weeks after ACC referee Karl Hess ejected former State players Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta from their seats behind the scorers’ table during the Wolfpack’s 76-62 loss to Florida State in Raleigh. Hess was reprimanded by the league for not following proper ejection procedure.

Yow created the Wolfpack Unlimited award to honor the 1988-89 team, which included Corchiani and Gugliotta, at State’s next home game three nights later — against UNC.

Hess did not officiate the ACC tournament, but the three officials in the tourney’s first game Thursday — Jamie Luckie, Mike Eades and Bernard Clinton — wore tape with the letters “KH” on their shoes in an apparent sign of solidarity with Hess.

The email attributed to Yow on Monday said ACC Commissioner John Swofford has “heard clearly my concerns regarding these matters.”

“The Commissioner indicated that neither he nor the ACC director of officials was aware that having the initials on the shoes was going to happen,” the email said.

The email goes on to say Gottfried, contrary to media reports, does not remember an official cursing at him during Saturday’s game, but says N.C. State plans to check with the media outlets that reported it and “share all of that information with the ACC.”

N.C. State has also, according to the email, brought the ACC’s attention to “the BB gun statement made by an opposing coach” and a quote pertaining to how ACC officials “study team tendencies.”

In November, UNC coach Roy Williams made reference to watching an N.C. State-UNC game on television in 2002 and feeling like he wanted to shoot visiting Wolfpack fans who filled the stands in Chapel Hill with a BB gun.

Clougherty told in February that officials study player and team tendencies and that UNC historically “doesn’t foul that much.”

Monday’s email said the latter quote is “something that was disconcerting to a number of fans and to us.”

Contact David Morrison at 373-7008 or

Accompanying Photos

Ethan Hyman

Photo Caption: UNC’s Kendall Marshall and N.C. State’s Alex Johnson make contact just before Marshall’s game-winning basket in Saturday’s game.


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March 13, 2012 - 7:30 am EDT

Unbelieveable. Stay classy Debbie.


March 13, 2012 - 8:53 am EDT

Now THIS is taking it to a whole new level! However, if these types of official and semi official actions is what it takes to put refs on notice ... then so be it!

The initials on the shoes was inappropriate and I hope reprimands are in order. Hess screwed up that business in Raleigh and he deserves any and all punishments he reeived. Perhaps his effectiveness as an ACC official has been compromised.

I do think analyzing each and every call over the course of a game is a bit much but ... whatever.


March 13, 2012 - 1:24 pm EDT

I agree. I thought the initials was very unprofessional. Referees should be impartial and always show the utmost professionalism in actions and appearance.


March 13, 2012 - 9:34 am EDT

Bad calls are are part of the game and always will be. The trick is to not put yourself in a situation where the game can be won on lost on a bad call by the ref. (EASIER SAID THAN DONE) State came down the play before and threw the ball out of bounds with no carolina player even nearby. Those are things you can control. I give Yow credit for putting herself at risk to support frustrated State fans but I have seen these same types of complaints about officiating over the years by Carolina, Duke and all fans who felt cheated. Ultimately you have to "suck it up" and focus on making your team play better. State will get back to being a top tier basketball program when we do this and accept refs will always be human and yes even influenced by "forces" outside of their training. Yes I am am a longtime State Fan first and right now Fridays game is more important than any of this chatter about officiating. GO PACK!!!


March 13, 2012 - 9:45 am EDT

This story is disturbing on so many levels. First, I'm shocked it's taken this long for the one-sided officiating to become a real discussion. I'm sure if Alex Johnson had been wearing a Duke blue uniform, Kendall Marshall would have been called for a charge because "historically Duke draws a lot of charges"...

Second, if the ACC is going to offiiciate games based on historical results, why play them at all. Let's just not waste the time and award wins and losses based on historical results as well.

Third, for Clougherty to make such a statement on public record, is grounds for stepping down. He obviously has no control of the men he is assigned to lead. KH initials on the offiicials shoes - what are we in 3rd grade here?

Lastly, Debbie Yow should navigate these waters carefully or this could haunt State sports programs for a long time. But kudos for having the guts to address something others have been ducking for years.


March 13, 2012 - 9:57 am EDT

Well done, Debbie - if that's you. Coming from a guy who has watched ACC basketball for forty years, it is clear that this conference has become corrupt over the years - benefiting those teams in blue. Neither team played a perfect game but I can say for certain that if you reverse the jerseys at the end of the UNC-State game there would have been a demonstrable charging call made. It's not like some calls go your way and some do not - when it comes to crunch time the teams clad in blue will almost always get the call. It has to stop. The players should expect that the game will be called fairly. When you have the person in charge of officials saying "certain teams don't foul" we have a bias problem. And let me say the teams in blue foul plenty. They just get called for it less often.

Mad Dog

March 13, 2012 - 10:59 am EDT

"Yow, in an email to the News & Record, neither confirmed nor denied she sent the initial email, saying she “cannot answer” whether the correspondence came from her."

Easy enough to verify. Do a public records request on Yow's email account. ALL state of NC employee emails are public record.

Time to belly up to the bar, Mr. N&R New Editor.


mr. brevity

March 13, 2012 - 11:58 am EDT

I am as ready as anybody to start disliking the new guy editor, but maybe - just maybe - the gas prices, the economy, the partisanship, the war in Afghanistan, etc. may take precedence.

For all the "diehard fans" I just don't get it. Why do you care? Spend time with your families.


March 13, 2012 - 4:07 pm EDT

Her work email is public record. Any email she sends from her own computer, or other device on a private accoount is not public record.


March 13, 2012 - 12:52 pm EDT

The difference in class between Duke, UNC and State are like night and day. Only State would complain about the bad calls that go against them. Whether it was a charge or block is not the reason they lost the game. Bad calls go both ways Debbie, so be sure to point out those calls that were unfairly called against the opposition. Talk about crying over spilt milk, NC State needs to learn how to win outright and not blame their losses on the officiating. I can't believe they are such a bunch of cry babies, it's time to dry your tears and move on. Prove yourself in the tourney, but I'm sure Debbie already has more form letters printed up, that it's the officiating and not their team that lost the game for them. Time to man up Wolfpack, stop blaming others when the obvious faults were poor execution on your part.


March 13, 2012 - 1:34 pm EDT

I think it's near impossible not to be biased when watching a game. Honestly, I thought the foul could have gone either way. Johnson was moving his feet when contact was made. However, I think it was pretty obvious that Marshall is the one who initiated the foul. He lowered his shoulder. That usually will get the offensive foul but I've seen it called one way or the other (or not at all) countless, countless times. In this game, they actually had called it an offensive foul against state earlier and then didn't call it against Carolina. Maybe that's what people are upset about.

I think it's more than that. I think most fans in the ACC recognize a pattern. Carolina and Duke have gotten more benefit of a doubt than other teams. It wasn't this one game but years of games that have led to this feeling among fans. This is a pretty common occurence when you have teams that are traditionally near the top. Even players. I remember Jordan got every single call when he played with the Bulls. The whistle would blow before the foul ever happened (if it ever did). So, I don't know that it is some conspiracy for Duke or Carolina or just because they happen to have consistently very good teams.


March 13, 2012 - 2:36 pm EDT

ncsportsfan -
Let's not be disingenious here. The reason that this entire issue has so much traction - far beyond the ever-present "my team got screwed" rhetoric that happens after every ball game - is that to a large majority of those who watched that basketball game, there was blatantly obvious favortism going on. Heck, most UNC fans I know of when pressed on this issue chuckle, shrug their shoulders and offer - with a little smirk - some variation of "yeah, probably got away with one there." Even Kendall Marshall acknowledged as much himself via Twitter.

NC State has themselves to blame for the majority of that loss, no doubt about that. They could have, and should have, won that game handily. However, the plainly obvious change in how the game was called once it became readily apparent UNC was in trouble of not winning - and the resultant favorable outcomes for the Tarheels - was noted by EVERYONE (Hubert Davis excluded, but that fella couldn't be unbiased if his life depended on it.) Ultimately, that was what decided the game in the end. Given the Hess issue, the referee's intials debacle, and the fact that Brian Dorsey (who was responsible for the no-call and the last 2 fouls - including an identical charge call - against CJ Leslie) was on the crew at NC State when all that went down provides more than enough circumstantial evidence that things may have been fishy.

Just the facts, though. Dunno if I'd have emailed folks, but that's Debbie for ya... I'd have for dang sure turned it into the league, and I would make public whatever drivel Clougherty sent back to me in reply.

Polite Cyclist

March 13, 2012 - 2:46 pm EDT

ncsportsfan, you're right about the difference in class between teams. The absolute example of no class is when a coach is losing a game badly and pulls his team from the court before the game is over, leaving his bench to fend for themselves. Equally without class is a conference commissioner with strong ties to that university and coach who ignores this act.


March 13, 2012 - 5:22 pm EDT

ncsportsfan - I agree that there are different classes. Only 1 of the 3 schools you mentioned is currently under NCAA penalty for cheating in a major sport. Not Duke, not State.


March 14, 2012 - 12:32 am EDT

Just a simple comment. I am sick of hearing all of the crying about officiating and bias against State. Anytime someone wants to review film and go over every play, I am ready and willing. There were countless calls that went in favor of State that were absolutely bogus. Watts got called for an over the back on Howell that was weak and there was no advantage gained, but it led to a 3 point play. State players climb the back all day and no call. Quit crying conspiracy and get your tinfoil hats out. Barnes got held the whole game, in fact, the entire State team could have fouled out. Any day you want to go foul for foul, I have numerous tapes and clips that prove you guys wrong.


March 14, 2012 - 9:11 am EDT

Honestly a lot of this referee discussion would stop if they would start calling a tight game from start to finish by the letter of the rules. If your hand goes on the bottom side of the ball while dribbling, it's a travel. If your plant foot moves, it's a travel. When rebounding, if you are boxed out and make contact with the opposing player trying to rebound it is a foul, whether or not advantage is gained (the Plumlees are the worst at this). If you hold a player's jersey, it is a foul, regardless of it he is shooting, rebounding, or coming around a screen. So many games lately have shown a shift in foul calls after halftime that it is ridiculous. Players get used to playing at one level then completely lose the flow of the game because the refs decide to tighten things up.


March 13, 2012 - 1:57 pm EDT

Roy was not referring to his childhood when he made his BB gun comment. He was talking about a game in the Cheater Dome in 2002:


March 13, 2012 - 3:00 pm EDT

Corrected. Thanks for the note.


March 13, 2012 - 2:44 pm EDT

In a NC State game I attended within weeks after 9/11, the pre-game National Anthem was ended (instead of "home of the BRAVE") with "home of the wolfpack" being yelled out by the NCSU fans. Bad enough to do this to the National Anthem ANY time, but to do it within weeks after the worst attack on our soil was inexcusable. They showed their class, or lack thereof, then. They continue to show it now. The behavior of the fans and coach after the UNC game was deplorable. This dispute could have and should have been handled with a little more class. Remember: Set an example, but make it a GOOD example.


March 13, 2012 - 4:07 pm EDT

Pretty funny to get scolded about "class" from a supporter of a school who is being punished for nine major NCAA violations after the longest investigation in NCAA history, whose basketball coach stated publicly that he wanted to shoot the opposing team's fans in the rear with a BB gun, and who took his starters and himself off the floor before a game ended (for safety reasons allegedly) after being beaten soundly - only to let the walk-ons and scrubs fend for themselves. Kerliner Klass. But there are none so blind as those who will not see.


March 13, 2012 - 9:41 pm EDT

No, what's funny is how you so quickly assumed I'm a supporter of UNC. They're not the only ones who have found NCSU actions disgusting. Last I checked, NCSU played a few other schools following 9/11 as well. And I also believe that UNC fans weren't the only people who saw the behavior after the game. It WAS televised, you know, and the behavior was clearly broadcast over the airways. Since I've nowhere said what school I support, you have assumed something you have no proof of. Ever heard of what "ASSume" means? Regardless, calling attention to another school's violations is an attempt to divert attention from the topic at hand. Nice try, though, but it will take more than that to justify the behavior of the State coach and fans at ANY game.


March 13, 2012 - 10:31 pm EDT

This article was about a game between NC State and UNC, the officiating, and the response of the NC State AD to said officiating. You respond by attacking NC State fans for upholding a long standing tradition on their home court, say they are classless and say you are not a UNC fan. LOL.


March 14, 2012 - 7:53 am EDT

Yes, it was an article about the NCSU and UNC game, but who brought into the discussion the penalties against UNC FOOTBALL? How was that related? As to your assumption, news flash: there are plenty of other ACC fans that dislike State or ANY team that displays poor sportsmanship because such behavior is a black mark on the conference as well as the school. The lack of class was evident during and after this particular game, just as it's been evident in other games against other schools. But you continue to assume so much without fact. Yep, that's class.


March 14, 2012 - 12:07 pm EDT

Not a UNC fan, huh swerdna? You posted the following September 3, 2010 - 12:42 pm EDT

"I have long been a UNC fan, and I'm very disturbed over things being found. However, if infractions have occurred and rules have knowingly been broken, then I totally favor severe penalties on any and all student athletes. I personally think kids now very often aren't held accountable for their poor decisions. When this happens at a young age, it can carry over into the teens and then into adulthood.

If the bad decisions made by these young men ruin or severely damage their careers, then so be it. It will be a tough lesson learned the hard way. At some point, everyone has to pay for decisions they've made. Promising student athletes should not be exempt from this "life's lesson.""

I have many examples of "Kerliner Klass" I would be glad to post for you if you really want me to go there.


March 14, 2012 - 2:42 pm EDT

Ok, so you did some research. Did you also note that I was NOT in approval of UNC's activities? Now, please explain how in the world the UNC FOOTBALL issues have ANYthing to do with the UNC-NCSU BASKETball game this past weekend other than for you to divert the attention away from the topic at hand.

The issue is a disputed missed call. Not in football but in basketball. The fact is, because of the nature of the game, calls are missed sometimes, however from all I've seen, this was NOT a missed call. The ISSUE is the behavior of the coach and fans during and after the game. And not just at this game but at others (see my example of the post 9/11 National Anthem). Like to admit it or not, the bahavior displayed by the NCSU fans and coach was nothing to be proud of. And that's the bottom line. "Nuff siad. Go ahead and beat the dead horse if you want - you people just can't seem to "let go" when things don't go your way.


March 14, 2012 - 2:50 pm EDT

rayzer: Just a little something to entertain you. Watch the beginning of the video. Be sure to watch over and over and over. The call was good. Unless you're blind, you can't deny it.


March 14, 2012 - 4:00 pm EDT

Once again, a consensus All American and 10 year NBA veteran who went to neither school disagrees with you but you're the expert dude. ESPN and other media outlets have made good sport out of how stupid and inconsistent the officiating was in this game, with this play being shown on an endless loop as an example. Keep shaking those powder blue pom poms!


March 15, 2012 - 1:03 am EDT

rayzer,remove your red sunglasses,watch the video, and listen to what Mike Gminski, an All American and 14 year NBA veteran that called the game, has to say.


March 15, 2012 - 2:22 pm EDT

Watching the footage over and over won't convince those who won't admit they're wrong. You're wasting your time. hahaha It's almost comical.


March 14, 2012 - 7:09 pm EDT

Right, just as you have with your comments. This is not the Schools fault. The fans did this not the school.

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