Kentucky fans have targeted referee John Higgins in the wake of the Wildcats’ Elite Eight loss.
NCAA referee John Higgins has met with law enforcement after receiving death threats from Kentucky Wildcats fans in the form of nasty e-mails and phone calls to both his office and home lines, according to ESPN.com.
Higgins was an official in the Wildcats’ Elite Eight loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels on Sunday. The Tar Heels won on Luke Maye’s buzzer-beating jump shot, 75-73. But the Wildcats were whistled for 19 fouls in that game, including two first-half fouls on each of their three best players: Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo.
Those whistles prompted Kentucky coach John Calipari to lay into the referees.
“You know, it’s amazing that we were in that game where they practically fouled out my team,” Calipari said via ESPN. “Amazing that we had a chance.”
Since then, fans identified Higgins as the problematic referee, and both his unlisted home and business phones have been “ringing off the hook.” Kentucky fans have posted false claims on the Facebook page for his business, Rooferees. His page has since been taken down, and fans are moving to the official website to leave messages.
Higgins will officiate during the Final Four.