Chris Coyte, a Pac-12 referee who officiated Kentucky’s 24-23 loss in their bowl game against Northwestern last month, has been receiving threatening messages from fans ever since, according to ESPN.
Coyte made the decision to eject Wildcats running back Benny Snell for making contact with him in the second quarter. Though video shows that the contact was minimal, the Pac-12 has announced that they stand by the call. But Kentucky fans have been calling his cell and office phones with threatening messages, along with the number for the commercial real estate association he belongs to, he said. The messages finally began to die down last week. But then a letter criticizing Coyte, from Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart to Pac-12 vice president of officials David Coleman was made public, and the calls kicked back up again.
This is not the first time that Kentucky fans have threatened a referee over a bad call; this situation, at least, has not yet required involvement from the FBI.