National Notebook: USC and the Big East

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USC head coach Lane Kiffin talks with players. Kiffin's critical remarks toward the referees' calls at the end of last week's game cost him a hefty fine. (Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Moore)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

USC’s Lane Kiffin fined $10K for criticizing refs last game

Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin was docked $10,000 for his comments criticizing the officiating in last Saturday’s USC-Stanford game. Kiffin was upset about how the end of regulation was handled, among other disputed instances. He has said he was promised by side judge Brad Glenn that he’d be awarded a time out if it was ruled that receiver Robert Woods was tackled inbounds with one second left in the game. Glenn didn’t grant Kiffin the time out and in a postgame interview Kiffin said he was “basically lied to” by Pac-12 officials.

“The Pac-12 has specific rules that prohibit our coaches from making public comments about officiating, and this prohibition specifically includes comments that create doubts about the credibility of the conference’s officiating program,” conference commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement.

“The conference expects each Pac-12 coach to adhere to our standards of conduct and to conduct himself or herself in a manner which will reflect credit on the institution and the conference.”

“I am sorry that all this happened, and I’ve learned from this,” Kiffin said. “I’ve learned that regardless of questions, I can’t answer any questions that have to do with calls from any games or any conversation that has an official has with me.”

Three Bulldogs suspended for unspecified violations

Freshmen running backs Isiah Crowell, Ken Malcome and junior Carlton Thomas will be suspended for the Bulldogs’ game against New Mexico State this week. Head coach Mark Richt did not go into detail as to why the players were suspended, only stating that a violation of team rules had occurred.

“They didn’t do things the Georgia way,” Richt said.

Crowell is the team’s leading rusher and is fifth in the SEC with 689 yards on 146 carries and four touchdowns. Thomas is listed as second on the depth chart behind Crowell and is the Bulldogs’ third-leading rusher with 200 yards on 44 carries. Malcome has appeared in only one game this season, carrying the ball four times for two yards against Florida.

Redshirt sophomore Brandon Harton is next in line on the depth chart at running back, but has only carried the ball 11 times for 33 yards in limited action against Coastal Carolina earlier this year.

Big East invites six schools to take place of lost talent

The Big East Conference has extended invites to Boise State, Navy and Air Force to be football-only members and SMU, Houston and Central Florida for all sports. The conference’s member presidents voted unanimously to extend these invites earlier this week.

“The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS and lay the foundation for possible further expansion, all while maintaining the high quality and standards our conference is known for,” Commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement.

The Big East found itself in a bind after Pittsburgh and Syracuse decided to leave for the ACC and TCU and West Virginia elected to depart for the Big 12, leaving the Big East with only five football teams. This would raise that number back to 11 and would mean that the conference would keep its BCS bowl auto-bid.

Miami (FL) coach’s contract will likely be renegotiated

In light of the NCAA’s investigation regarding the involvement of former booster Nevin Shapiro with the Hurricanes’ football program, Al Golden could be getting a revised contract.

Brett Senior, Golden’s agent, said that officials have contacted Golden about reworking his contract because of the ongoing investigation that the NCAA has undertaken. It has been reported that Golden was unaware of the scope of the situation when he was being recruited to become the head coach at Miami.

“We’ve got to get sort of a feel for what the NCAA implications might be,” Senior said. “The university acknowledged there is something that needs to be done. Initial overtures came from them. It’s the right thing to do. It wasn’t handled well in the initial [stages].”

Golden is currently 4-4 in his first season as head coach and has had several players suspended throughout the year because ofthe Shapiro scandal.