You may not immediately recognize the name Karl Hess—though if you're an ACC fan you probably do—but if you've watched a college basketball game where a referee pulled some look-at-me funny business while misapplying the rules, there's a good chance it was Hess. There was the time he ejected Tom Gugliotta from the stands of an N.C. State game for...who knows? There was the time he totally botched an overtime period. There were the hundreds of other times he couldn't call a game straight—Grantland compiled the 50 best tweets from when Hess blew a game two years ago—and instead refereed as if he were worshipping at the altar of NBA ref Joey Crawford.
Hess's latest transgression occurred this weekend, while refereeing the Wake Forest-Louisville game:
Besides being wrong—Shah is of Indian descent—and messed up, Shah is the wrong guy to pick a fight with: he is very rich, and the former chairman of the Wake Forest University board of trustees. Today the hammer finally dropped, with David Glenn first reporting that the ACC was "ending their relationship" with Hess. Here's Hess's reaction, via ESPN:
"It's a sad day and is devastating," Hess told ESPN on Friday. "But I'm responsible."
"I wasn't trying to deliberately hurt anyone," he added. "That's not my character. I goof around a lot, and there was no intent to hurt anyone."
It's not time for college basketball fans to break out the champagne quite yet, as Hess is still free to work for other conferences, assuming they'll have him. According to StatSheet (via the Washington Post), since 1997 only 47% of the conference games Hess has worked have been for the ACC conference. Almost 20% have been for the Big East, so expect to see Hess puttering around the northeast soon.
Have a "favorite" Karl Hess memory? Drop it in the comments below.
Photo via Reinhold Matay/AP