Cravens took Big Sky officiating to task

Updated: January 15, 2004, 7:57 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OGDEN, Utah -- Weber State men's basketball coach Joe Cravens was suspended for Thursday's game against Montana State for comments he made about Big Sky officiating.

Dusty Clements, the league's assistant commissioner, said Cravens' comments came during a morning radio talk show Wednesday in Salt Lake City.

Clements said Cravens was asked about any special challenges his team faces while on the road. Clements said Cravens questioned the "level of officiating" on the road and suggested some officials can be easily intimidated by home crowds.

League rules prohibit coaches from publicly criticizing officials, and carry a mandatory one-game suspension and letter of reprimand, Clements said.

Cravens accepted blame and tried to explain himself.

"I apologize for the comments on the radio ... which were inappropriate," he told the Ogden Standard-Examiner. "I know what a tough job officials have and I in no way meant to criticize how they do their jobs, but rather I was trying to point out how difficult it is, not just for our team, but for any team, to go on the road and play before enthusiastic crowds.

"I feel I have a good relationship with the officials in our league and I hope they feel the same towards me."

Cravens and the Wildcats (7-7, 0-1), the defending Big Sky champions, lost their league opener at Idaho State last weekend after winning 15 consecutive Big Sky games dating back to last season. Cravens was named the league's coach of the year last season as well.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.