Tudor: Karl Hess' move just latest in ACC wackiness

Staff WriterFebruary 20, 2012 

First things first: ACC basketball official Karl Hess was way out of line Saturday at the RBC Center.

When he ejected former N.C. State stars Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta under police supervision from their front-row seats late in the Wolfpack's one-sided loss to Florida State, Hess didn't merely act irrationally.

He might as well have pulled a carrot out of his back pocket and gone straight into a Bugs Bunny impersonation.

On the court Saturday, the action was typically frantic.

Three players - Pack guard Lorenzo Brown and Seminoles Ian Miller and Bernard James - were handed technical fouls. Inside, the Pack's Richard Howell and FSU's Okaro White practically were swapping standing-eight-count elbow jabs.

And yet in the midst of all that, Hess is keeping his eyes on and ears open for taunts from a couple of ex-players located at least 10 feet from the court.

You would think an official with Hess' experience and reputation would have exercised better judgment and a heck of a lot more restraint. The game wasn't even close - the Seminoles eventually won 76-62 - and the RBC audience hardly was in a terribly belligerent mood.

But then again, thank goodness for the Karl Hesses of this world.

It was a dumb stunt, but a few dumb stunts each season have served as the spice of life in ACC basketball for about 60 years.

There was Wake Forest coach Bones McKinney with his sideline seat belt, a self-devised restraint and insurance policy against drawing techs during an era when on-court brawls were as apt to occur as hook shots.

There was that bizarre night in 1991 when the Pack was at Duke and ref John Moreau suddenly ejected State coach Les Robinson's son-in-law from the stands.

The Cameron Crazies were screaming for sacrifices as usual, Christian Laettner was in one of his Hannibal Lecter moods, and yet the one guy who happened to get on Moreau's nerves was Robinson's harmless son-in-law.

There was UNC at FSU only a few weeks ago, when Roy Williams and several of his players left the scene of a competitive wipeout of chain-reaction dimensions without offering so much as an exchange of insurance information.

There was Dean Smith and his famous choke signs to mortified officials and Gene Banks and his roses and Lefty Driesell and his eruptions against helpless plastic chairs. And a hundred other wacky, but unforgettable, moments.

We get incensed, overly wired and emotionally riled. But in the end, it's just sports and in many cases, these are things that have made the ACC special.

So Karl, you messed up royally and lots of folks saw it. But just sit still and stay low and before you know it, someone else will grab the dunce's hat.

Tudor: 919-829-8946

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