Prior to Hocutt fine, Texas Tech told Big 12 there was no sportsmanship violation

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Kriby Hocutt after title game

LUBBOCK, Texas — Documents released to EverythingLubbock.com on Thursday in an open records request showed a disagreement this week between Texas Tech University and the Big 12.

The Big 12 said in a statement on Wednesday that TTU Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt violated sportsmanship rules and would be fined $25,000.

A public statement from Hocutt indicated the Big 12 admitted to an incorrect call during the Tech vs. Baylor game on Saturday.

The Big 12 put Texas Tech on notice on Monday that there was a potential violation – more specifically, “Coaches, student-athletes, and members of the athletics department staff are prohibited from making any public comment regarding the game officials or the officiating at any contest.”

Texas Tech responded in writing by saying in part, “We simply stated the facts in regards to the communication with the Conference Staff, the decision on the field, and that the play is not reviewable.”

The text of emails between Texas Tech and the Big 12 are copied below.

From: Ed Stewart
To: Kirby Hocutt,
10/12/2019 9:30 pm

Kirby,

Sorry for the delay but I wanted to have all the facts before providing a response to your inquiry. After visiting with Greg, who talked with the crew here is our assessment of what took place with the play in OT.

Greg has reviewed the Illegal Snap / Fumble play in the 1st period of OT. The ruling on the field of an Illegal Snap was incorrect. The rule, 2-23 a-h, states that a snap must be made in one quick and continuous motion with the ball leaving the snappers hand or hands. It is not a legal snap if the ball is moved forward or is lifted prior to the backward motion of a legal snap. The video shows the ball being snapped continuously and bouncing of the centers thigh/leg and falling to the ground where it was recovered by the defense. Once the Head Line Judge ruled an Illegal snap the play is dead like a false start, meaning the play never happened.

This play is not revieawable by rule and is a judgement error and not a misapplication of a rule. Greg discussed the play with the National Coordinator, Rogers Redding, and he agrees with this interpretation.

Consistent with past practice we typically do not publicly address judgment issues. We will be dealing with the officials internally as we complete our review of this game in It’s entirety. Let me know if you want to discuss further tomorrow. I expect Greg will be talking to Coach Wells directly.

Ed

From: Bob Bowlsby
To: Kirby Hocutt
October 13, 2019 6:44 pm

Kirby-

The purpose of this email is to notify you of a potential sportsmanship violation that occurred following the Texas Tech football game against Baylor on Saturday, October 12. Specifically, I am referring to the comments made by you in the following link:

https://texastech.com/news/2019/10/13/football-kirby-hocutt-statement-on-end-of-tech-baylor-game.aspx

The Conference is concerned that as a result of this incident, a violation of C.R. 12.3.2 (Comments about Officiating) has occurred.

12.3.2 Comments about Officiating. Coaches, student-athletes, and members of the athletics department staff are prohibited from making any public comment regarding the game officials or the officiating at any contest. The public airing of officiating matters, whether directly or indirectly, during or after a game, verbally or by use of video, on or off the record, is prohibited.

Per Conference Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct policies, Texas Tech shall submit a response to the Conference office indicating the institution’s position on the matter no later than Monday, October 14 at 5:00 p.m. (CT). After the Conference receives the institution’s response, a determination will be made as to what action, if any, is warranted.

Please confirm receipt of this information. Thank you for your attention to this matter and please let me know if you have any questions.

Bob Bowlsby
Commissioner

From: Kirby Hocutt
To: Bob Bowlsby
October 14, 2019 Timestamp not listed

Dear Bob:

This letter is in response to your email regarding a possible football sportsmanship violation. As noted in your email we did release a statement regarding the overtime of the Texas Tech and Baylor football game. We did not intentionally violate the conference policy on Comments about Officiating (C.R. 12.3.2) but rather provided a factual clarification to bring closure to this issue.

We had received many requests for comments and questions, and felt that closure to this issue was in the best interest of all parties involved. Our statement does not have any opinion nor does it bring to light any other officiating issues. We simply stated the facts in regards to the communication with the Conference Staff, the decision on the field, and that the play is not reviewable. We give complete deference and respect to the Conference in our statement.

Furthermore, it is important to note that we had received email communication from the Conference Staff in regards to this incident which went into more detail than our statement. This email communication would be subject to Freedom of Information Act and would have to be released if requested. We feel that had we not brought closure to this issue this information would have been requested as we have received similar requests in the past.

I respectfully will state that it is our position that we have not violated the sportsmanship policy of the Conference, but rather responded with facts in a professional manner. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss further.

Kirby Hocutt

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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