LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In what may be a first-of-its-kind penalty against a high-level basketball coach, the NCAA has suspended Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey from her team's next NCAA Tournament game, regardless of school, for comments critical of officials after last season's Sweet 16 loss to Louisville.
Mulkey rolled into her post-game news conference and told reporters, "I'll be glad to answer any referee question you want to ask me, because I don't mind getting fined, so ask me. Now is the time to ask me, okay?"
She went on to say of the three officials who worked the game, "I thought that all three of them, if they go past this round of officiating, it will be sad for the game."
Mulkey was incensed at a controversial offensive foul call against her team with 40 seconds left. She tried to tear off her blazer and went storming after officials. Louisville coach Jeff Walz, who had received a technical foul for complaining moments earlier for leaving the coaching box, was incredulous after the game.
"I'm better off if I wear a sport coat because I can step out and rip that off and go halfway on the floor and you won't get a technical," Walz said. "If you sit on the scorer's table three feet outside the box, you're going to get one."
Walz received a reprimand for what the NCAA termed "profane and abusive language toward game officials," during his team's 2011 NCAA Tournament loss at Gonzaga. Mulkey was reprimanded the same year for disparaging the NCAA's bracketing process. Other NCAA coaches were punished earlier this year. But the suspension is an unusual move. The NCAA also is withholding an undisclosed per diem allowance for the regional.
In a statement, the NCAA noted that Mulkey had a history of such comments.
"The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee noted this is the latest misconduct act by Mulkey during the past several championships and believes a more stringent penalty is appropriate to prevent these actions from continuing," the NCAA said in a press release. "She also received a public reprimand for comments to the media following the 2011 championship. Mulkey's misconduct led the committee to issue her a one-game NCAA postseason championship suspension as well as the withholding of Baylor's team championship per diem during the regional round of play."