The refs were subject to threats.
Pac-12 referee Chris Coyte and his crew have been the target of threats and harassment following a controversial decision made in the Music City Bowl. Coyte and his crew ejected Kentucky running back Benny Snell during the team’s 24-23 loss to Northwestern.
Snell was ejected for making contact with an official. The ejection was widely criticized after video replay showed minimal contact between the two after a play during the second quarter.
Coyte confirmed the ejection after the game. Later in the week the Pac-12 also confirmed the refs made the correct decision.
According to a report from ESPN, in the weeks following the game Coyte has received “barrage of threatening calls to his cell and office phones.” He also received threats at the commercial real estate association he belongs to.
The Pac-12 released the following statement: “We’re happy to discuss the matter with the SEC. We’re particularly sensitive about this issue because our officials have received threats and we are concerned about their safety.”
The sophomore running back broke out during the 2017 season, racking up over 1,300 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. Snell was the third-leading rusher in the SEC behind Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson and Georgia’s Nick Chubb.
SEC officials released a statement commenting on the officiating during the game.
“The University of Kentucky expressed its concerns about specific instances related to officiating in the Music City Bowl to both the SEC and the Pac-12 offices. There has been no universal protocol related to communicating concerns about post-season bowl games. The SEC has no further comment on this matter.”
This is the second time in a year that officials have receiver harassing calls following a Kentucky loss. Referee John Higgins dealt with threats following Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina during the 2017 NCAA Tournament.