Heath Reprimanded By SEC

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Stan Heath's public allegation that official Tom Eades compromised the integrity of the game at LSU last Wednesday earned him a public reprimand from the Southeastern Conference on Tuesday.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive issued a statement admonishing Heath for his comments, the first time Heath has been sanctioned by the league office in his three seasons in Fayetteville.

"I fully understand and share coach Heath's frustration resulting from the lack of communication and mixed signals given by the officiating crew at the end of regulation in the Arkansas-LSU game," Slive said.

"Nonetheless, I have reminded coach Heath of his responsibility to comply with the SEC Code of Ethics (Bylaws 10.5.4 and 10.5.5), which states that coaches and support personnel shall refrain from public criticism of officials."

Heath declined to comment on his reprimand Tuesday.

With Arkansas trailing LSU 58-56, Razorbacks senior Mike Jones hit a shot from the top of the key with 1.8 seconds left ruled a 2-pointer by Eades and a 3-pointer by fellow official John Hampton.

After the game ended on a missed halfcourt heave by LSU with the scoreboard giving Arkansas a 59-58 win, Eades conducted a video review of the play and determined there was not conclusive evidence Jones' foot was completely clear of the 3-point line.

The game went to overtime and Arkansas lost 66-63 after going 0 of 7 from the field and 5 of 9 from the foul line in the extra period.

Heath was fairly calm following the game until handed a statement from Eades saying the original call on the floor was a two and that there was inconclusive evidence to overturn the call.

Heath called Eades' ruling "a joke" as he stormed out of the press room, but he went a step further on the Thursday morning SEC coaches call when he charged Eades did not award Jones three points for the wrong reasons.

The video replay reviewed by Eades and shown on the arena big screen showed conclusively that Jones had to slide his pivot to get behind the 3-point line and he could have been called for a travel.

Heath said Eades did not give Jones three points to make up for missing the traveling call before the final shot and was influenced by the LSU fans and Tigers coach John Brady campaigning for a traveling call, which is not reviewable.

"First, they were like, 'Hey, it's a two! It's a two!' and then all the sudden, they saw it and they said, 'Oh he traveled! Oh he traveled! Oh he traveled!'" Heath said. "You've got 8 or 10,000 people seeing the same thing and so that is what I'm saying. The game was compromised last night.

"I thought that was unfair to the kids. I thought that was unfair to our sport."

A day after Heath's comments last Thursday, the SEC issued a ruling on the final moments of regulation and upheld Eades' ruling while admitting the officials "miscommunicated" with each other and with Heath.

Hampton, who signaled for a 3-pointer directly in front of the Arkansas bench, never told Eades he made the 3 signal.

When Eades reviewed the play, Hampton was no longer in the camera angle he had available of Jones' shot and he was not aware any of his officials had signaled a three.

On Thursday morning, SEC supervisor of officials John Guthrie still was under the impression that no official had signaled a 3 even after talking to Hampton, who told Guthrie he raised only one arm to signal a clock stoppage on the made field goal.

The video shot by Arkansas and supplied to the SEC from behind its bench shows Hampton making the 3-point signal he didn't tell Eades or Guthrie about and led the SEC to say last Friday and again in its Tuesday release that "appropriate action" was being taken with the officials involved.

Heath had a rough stretch with SEC officials last week.

After his team shot 12 free throws to Mississippi State's 39 on Jan. 15 during a 80-55 loss in Starkville, Heath received his second techincal foul of the season in the second half and called the officiating "a charade" and "a joke" in his postgame comments.

SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said early last Thursday morning Heath would not be reprimanded for those comments.

A few hours later, Heath earned one with his allegations about Eades and the end of the Arkansas-LSU game.

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