It appears the NCAA has turned its back on longtime official Ted Valentine.
In a story first reported by ESPN, the 59-year-old referee was told he will not be working any games during this year’s NCAA Tournament–largely due to the fallout he received for turning his back on UNC point guard Joel Berry during the Tar Heels’ game at Florida State this past January.
Berry was calmly trying to get an explanation about a call Valentine had made, when the longtime ref–who had previously earned the nickname “TV Teddy” for his over-the-top antics–inexplicably turned around and refused to acknowledge him.
When the controversy first arose, Valentine was pulled off of a couple Big Ten games he was scheduled for as he contemplated retirement. He then later apologized to Berry and Tar Heel head coach Roy Williams before resuming his normal work.
Now, though, Valentine–who was an official during last year’s Final Four–feels as if being pulled off the NCAA Tournament is a second punishment for an incident he thought was behind him.
“This is not right, it’s just not fair,” Valentine told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman after learning his fate. “It hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m being punished unjustly.”
The NCAA did not comment directly on the situation, saying it does not disclose its selections or assignments.
“I screwed up,” Valentine added. “But I went back a week later and apologized, and [Berry] and I were joking and kidding. It was no big deal. I even pulled him out of a situation where he could have gotten a technical foul.”
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 13, 2018