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Pitt reprimands Jeff Capel for criticism of ACC officials

The ACC considers the matter resolved and has declined to fine the Pitt coach

NCAA Basketball: Drexel at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel issued a candid statement about the quality of the officiating in the ACC, and specifically bias he sees affecting Pitt, after his team’s 77-62 loss to Clemson on Saturday. The move was expected to draw a punishment, and it did on Sunday night, as Pitt issued a public reprimand of the coach.

The school stated that the reprimand was issued to comply with the ACC Sportsmanship Principle, which prohibits members of ACC programs from publicly criticizing officials.

“The University of Pittsburgh has issued a public reprimand of head men’s basketball coach Jeff Capel for violating the ACC Sportsmanship Principle following Pitt’s game at Clemson Saturday, March 6,” a statement from the school read. “Capel’s postgame comments regarding officials were in violation of the ACC Sportsmanship Principle.”

“Capel accepts full accountability for his actions, understands the consequences of the comments and has spoken privately to the appropriate parties involved," the statement continued. "The University of Pittsburgh, the ACC and Coach Capel consider this matter resolved and will have no further comment.”

The coach’s comments on Saturday were extensive, but the central point was that he saw a “double standard” being applied to Pitt by ACC officials and had enough of it.

“There’s a double standard with us, and I’m tired of it,” Capel said on Saturday. “I get what happens will happen. But you know, teams can talk to our bench. They can go crazy over a call, and nothing happens. But when we’ve done it, there’s technical fouls. ... You guys follow us, so you see it. You see it, and I know you do. And it’s not right. It’s not right. So I know I’m wrong for what I’m saying. You can’t say anything. You can’t say anything. Again, I like all of those guys. They’re really, really good guys. But this is some bulls***.”

With the ACC, Pitt and Capel all in agreement that the matter is closed with the issuance of the reprimand, it appears the ACC will not hand down the traditional fine that coaches have faced in the past for similar comments. That represents a significant victory for Capel in the matter, as financial repercussions seemed almost assured to follow the comments.

With that said, how ACC officials will respond to the coach's criticism remains unclear, and the potential exists for Pitt to be impacted in the ACC tournament. Whether that comes to pass or not will be determined on Tuesday, when Pitt faces Miami in the opening round of the event in Greensboro, North Carolina.