Monday, 22nd April 2024

1/6/2014: State of the Big Ten, Volume 114 (premium)

Posted on 06. Jan, 2014 by in Iowa Basketball, Iowa Football


Every Monday, we will be running a weekly series titled “State of the Big Ten,” which will be made available to all members of This series of columns will focus on one major headline regarding the conference and go in-depth on the subject at hand.

By Brendan Stiles

In his team’s 75-71 loss to No. 4 Wisconsin on Sunday, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery found himself picking up two technical fouls in the second half and being ejected. This marked the second time in his coaching tenure with the Hawkeyes that McCaffery had been ejected from the game (the other occurrence coming in an 80-60 loss to Northern Iowa during the 2011-12 season).

McCaffery said he was intentionally seeking the first technical foul, which was called with Iowa leading Wisconsin 41-39 at the under-12 timeout. But he didn’t walk away and re-compose himself. Instead, he unleashed even more of a fury and was given a second technical, ejecting him altogether.

Since the game’s conclusion, McCaffery has spoken publicly twice and released a statement through the UI, as did Iowa athletics director Gary Barta. No public reprimand has been handed down by the Big Ten as of late Monday afternoon, but one could still suffice.

As far as a suspension goes because contact (whether inadvertent or not) with an official did occur, that’s a whole different debate. Even though McCaffery has been given a reprimand for on-court behavior from the Big Ten before (when he slammed the chair at Michigan State), the odds of him actually being suspended for a game (presumably No. 20 Iowa’s next contest on Jan. 9 against Northwestern) appear slim.

Here’s the bigger issue — what type of impact will McCaffery’s behavior have going forward. There’s a fine line that needs to be distinguished. If the matter is him defending his players and sticking up for them (even when he’s wrong), that’s one thing. To jeopardize their chances at success is another and the latter is what occurred in Madison on Sunday. There’s no debating that point.

McCaffery isn’t going to change who he is. That would’ve already happened two years ago if any sort of repercussion was going to influence how he acted going forward. He might not get ejected from another game again this season, but to sit here and say he needs to avoid getting technical fouls at all costs is just unrealistic. At some point this season, he’ll get more of them. Every coach probably gets at least 2-3 per season.

He might take a different approach in complaining about calls to officials. He might not. Every game is going to be its own independent variable because the officiating changes from game to game like the opposition and game plans do as well. But his overall approach isn’t going to change and honestly, it shouldn’t. That’s not to defend what he did, but it’s not as if he should morph into the exact opposite of what he was brought in to be at Iowa.

This could also potentially have an impact on recruiting. Even if he’s more calm and more upbeat whenever the cameras are on McCaffery most of the time, there could still be negative recruiting used against him and against Iowa in light of this. It shouldn’t be something that’s the ultimate factor in a kid’s decision, but it could be a potential factor.

It’ll be interesting to see what sort of ramifications this has not just on McCaffery and Iowa moving forward, but also on other Big Ten coaches and their respective programs.

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