Kentucky Fans Identified But Not Charged For Threatening NCAA Official

Kentucky head coach John Calipari argues a call in the first half of the South Regional final game against North Carolina in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 26, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) 

By Ryan Touhey,

According to numerous news sources, NCAA referee John Higgins was the target of threats from Kentucky basketball fans during the NCAA Tournament. They occurred after Kentucky’s 75-73 South Regional final loss to North Carolina in Memphis Tennessee on March 26.

Eric Olson of the Associated Press stated that Lee Polikov said the identities of those who were responsible for the threats were finally discovered. Polikov is the Sarpy County Attorney and he claimed that none of the names were released to the public.

Polikov said to the Associated Press that, “Based on the investigation’s findings, our office has determined that no local charges will be filed and that pursuit of any criminal charges would be best served by deferring to authorities in the appropriate jurisdictions.”

Polikov also added that, “The length of the investigation was drawn out due, in part, to the large volume of potential evidence requiring analysis and the multijurisdictional issues arising from the multiple states in which the communications originated.”

The Tribune further detailed the experiences Higgins had when it came to threats. Higgins also runs a roofing company called La-Vista. The company received threatening calls, emails and voice mails. These included death threats against Higgins and his family.

After the game on March 26, Kentucky head coach John Calipari was vocal about his displeasure regarding Higgins’ officiating during the game. In the postgame press conference after the loss, Calipari said, “You know, it’s amazing that we were in that game when they practically fouled out my team. Amazing that we had a chance.”

In an article published by the Kentucky website on March 29, Capt. Kevin Griger, who is the investigations commander for the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department said that Higgins’ company received close to 3,000 threats in total.

According to Andrew Doughty of Herosports.com, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is going after those who have made the countless threats against Higgins. ESPN stated that Higgins was notified and appreciative regarding the progress made.

Overall, the issue is a stain on Kentucky’s fan base, especially since Calipari referred to them as the ‘classiest fans.’ Unfortunately, incidents such as this do occur in sports and people need to be cautious of what they do.

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