Referee who turned back considers retirement


NCAA basketball referee Ted Valentine told The Athletic that he is considering retirement amid the reaction to him turning his back on North Carolina’s Joel Berry II during a game Wednesday night.

“I’m thinking about retiring,” Valentine said. “I’ve had enough of people blowing up stuff. I think I’ve had a stellar career, and I think it’s time to get ready to walk away.”

Valentine said he had been removed from two Big Ten games this weekend and then elected not to officiate Saturday’s Georgia Tech-Yale contest because of the intense reaction.

Despite contemplating retirement, Valentine told The Athletic he will work ACC games this week to which he was already assigned.

On Wednesday, Valentine turned his back to Berry when the guard tried to a discuss a non-call. Berry felt he had been fouled by Florida State’s Terance Mann, but the veteran ref would not engage with the UNC guard.

Valentine told The Athletic he turned his back to de-escalate the situation, a technique he said he has learned in conflict resolution classes.

Both the NCAA and North Carolina referred any comment to the ACC, and on Thursday, ACC men’s basketball communications director Brian Morrison said the issue is being addressed internally.

Big Ten officiating supervisor Rick Boyages declined comment to The Athletic on the league’s removal of Valentine from this weekend’s games.

Valentine told The Athletic that he thought the Berry incident was being overblown.

“It was just something that happened in the battle of the game. It’s not really worth talking about,” he said.

Valentine is well known for his theatrics during games, earning him the nickname “TV Teddy,” and he has become part of the on-court story on a number of occasions, including an incident in 2014, when he and Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin had to be restrained during a confrontation.

Valentine has worked 28 NCAA tournaments, 10 Final Fours and four national championship games.


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