Legal troubles loom for high-profile player amidst off-field controversy

Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz received a public reprimand and the institution was fined $20,000 from the ACC for his comments following the Cardinals’ 73-72 loss at Syracuse.

The ACC referenced the ACC Sportsmanship Policy, which states, “Public criticism of officials or public comments evaluating the officiating of particular contests is not in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics. Individuals associated with the athletics program are prohibited, therefore, from commenting while acting in an official capacity on officiating other than directly to the Conference office.”

“The ACC considers this matter closed and will have no further comment,” the statement said.

After the reprimand and fine were announced, Walz said on 93.9 FM that he met with the ACC this week and the league stood by the officials’ call, noting that the intentional foul was an allowable interpretation of the rules.

Walz ripped the officiating crew after U of L forward Olivia Cochran grabbed Syracuse guard Dyaisha Fair around the waist and was assessed an intentional foul with two seconds left in the game. The Cardinals were up, 72-71, with two fouls to give. Instead of drawing a regular foul, which would have given Syracuse possession, the intentional foul put Fair at the free-throw line in addition to giving the Orange the final possession.

Fair made both shots and ran out the final two seconds — securing the win and splitting the regular-season series. The loss dropped Louisville (20-5, 9-3 ACC) from second place to fourth in the ACC standings.

Walz, who referred to the call as “the worst call I’ve seen in my 29 years of coaching,” said he was sure he would receive a reprimand from the ACC after his comments.

“They should be embarrassed,” Walz said after Sunday’s game. “I’ll get my fine, I’m sure. I’ll get a letter of reprimand, but at this point, somebody has to start holding the officials accountable. … If we’re going to start calling that, every foul at the end of the game when a team has to foul is intentional. Every foul is. We all know it is, but to call it in a one-point game with 2.5 seconds left.

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