The NCAA reprimanded long-time basketball official Karl Hess for ejecting a couple of hecklers.
Because instead of scolding Hess, basketballshould be applauding him.
It's hard for Hess to find much cheer these days, after being booed, badgered and bullied for his decision to toss Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani from their seats Saturday during a North Carolina State home game.
The fact they were former Wolfpack stars who went on to play in the NBA fueled the outrage.
But maybe if their antics weren't so outrageous, Hess – a Shickshinny native who played under the great Eddie Gayeski at Northwest – wouldn't have felt compelled to remove Gugliotta and Corchiani from the RBC Center, North Carolina State's home arena.
Apparently, these two former college greats, who once brought North Carolina State so much glory their jerseys hang in their old gym's rafters, have aged into glorified goons.
Corchiani admitted as much, telling CBSSports.com he not only got all over Hess with his heckling Saturday. He apparently does this to just about every official nearly every game he attends at North Carolina State in a pathetic effort to manufacture some sort of home court advantage.
Who goes to games just to rag the ref?
Apparently a couple of North Carolina State has-beens still trying to re-live their own past from the stands.
"What's alarming to me is they admitted they do that frequently," current Northwest coach Jerry Blazick said. "From what I've read, it seems to me Gugliotta and Corchiani were infamous for that.
"If that is the case, you could see Karl's point on that."
Nearly 15 years passed from the time Hess graduated Northwest in 1978 to when Blazick started at the school as a freshman in 1992, so the two don't know each other real well.
But Blazick does know fans sometimes get carried away and cross the line, whether they're former big names coming back to watch a Division I college game or regular Joes at a Division III or high school game.
"I'd be lying if I said my emotions didn't sometimes get the best of me," Blazick said. "I, as a coach, feel like I get a little more rope. But I am the one working in the trenches. Fans are not in the trenches. They need to separate. When you're a fan, you don't get that rope. Most of them really don't have a more vested interest."
Some of them don't really care about self-control.
But there's a difference between showing passion for your team and acting like a punk. Whatever happened to sportsmanship?
In his 16th season of officiating college basketball, Hess deserved better than a game of rip-the-ref. Especially from two high-profile athletes who should know better.
"He's probably run into these guys before," Blazick suggested. "He probably cut them some slack and decided enough was enough."
Maybe Guliotta and Corchiani just didn't remember enough. Maybe they forgot the lessons they they learned playing under the classy Jimmy Valvano, who coached winners at North Carolina State. He won not only through his inspirational spirit but also with so much dignity before cancer took his life in 1993.
All Hess did was remind them that boorish behavior like riding the ref can get you a quick ride home.