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February 25, 2014

Orange Prattle: Coaches need to be held accountable for in-game escapades

STILLWATER, Okla. — It’s time for adults to act like adults. From “super fans” yelling at college kids to coaches going berserk following a foul.

This college basketball season has seen plenty of overreactions, most notably Marcus Smart shoving a fan, with the most recent tantrum coming from Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim running onto the court and yelling obscenities at a ref over a last-second call in a close game against Duke.

Boeheim’s explosion isn’t any different from when Smart kicked a chair during a game against West Virginia — an action that drew ire around the country and here in Stillwater before and after he pushed Jeff Orr in Lubbock, Texas. In fact, Boeheim’s reaction was directed at a person — the officials.

I lost track of the number of national media members stating that Smart should have been punished for his first outbreak, yet I didn’t hear any such uproar when the 69-year-old coach lost his cool on national TV. Instead, he was on the bench for Syracuse’s nail-biting win against Maryland Monday night.

But that wasn’t the only outlandish reaction from a college basketball coach this weekend. Cowboy fans got to bear witness to Travis Ford high-stepping down the floor to argue a call early in the victory over Texas Tech in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

A team is a reflection of its coach, so perhaps shouldn’t be too surprising some of the recent reactions by the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team.

Saturday, after an over and back called against OSU, Ford high-stepped toward the official — which very easily could have earned him a technical — to argue his point. This isn’t the first time Ford has let his emotions go overboard.

Whether it be grabbing the scorer’s table or a nearby towel, or in one instance earlier this year falling backward over his own feet while arguing a call, Ford is just another college basketball coach that needs to be held accountable for his actions.

Those reactions extend onto the court in the form of player reactions.

Le’Bryan Nash, a three-year starter for the Cowboys, constantly glares at officials when a call doesn’t go in his favor. Then of course there was the now infamous overreaction from Smart when OSU took on Texas Tech in Lubbock.

During Smart’s recent suspension there was a constant reminder of him kicking a chair against West Virginia and that he should have been reprimanded by the coaches. But how is it any different from his own coach rushing at an official, or Boeheim rushing the court, flailing his arms around and clearly using profanity towards an official?

I remember being an impressionable teenager — some 15 years ago — and at times having the thought that if my boss can get away with something, or doesn’t hold himself responsible for his actions, then why should I?

It’s no different.

Perhaps if these teenagers are expected to act like adults, the coaches that mentor them should act as such as well.

Jason Elmquist is sports editor of The Stillwater News Press. He can be contacted at

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