ACC to determine Hewitt's fate for bashing refs

ATLANTA - Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt could face a suspension at the beginning of next season as a result of critical comments made about the officiating in the Yellow Jackets' 69-64 loss to Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament final Sunday.

A final decision about Hewitt's penalty is expected today from ACC commissioner John Swofford. Hewitt could face a fine, reprimand or suspension.

"That's the commissioner's call. We have had several conversations today about the situations. I have given my opinion of why Paul did what he did, have tried to explain our side and our fan's side and the frustration of what has happened," Tech director of athletics Dave Braine said. "I think the commissioner has listened. Whatever he does will be fair. We'll have to wait and see."

Hewitt refused to comment on the possibility of a suspension Tuesday night and said that the league office had not contacted him.

Monday morning, both on his radio show and afterward, Hewitt criticized a foul call against Tech point guard Jarrett Jack with 18 seconds left in the game.

"If you have two eyes that work well, you should have been able to see that," Hewitt said during the radio show. "It's inexcusable. It's absolutely inexcusable."

"It'll be a long time before I forget what happened (Sunday). It was wrong."

Hewitt declined to address any questions about officiating during Tuesday's press conference for the Yellow Jackets' NCAA opener against George Washington.

Braine also refused to discuss the call, made by Larry Rose, in the tournament final.

"Every commentator that made a comment said it was wrong," he said.

But he did back Hewitt, who has often railed against the league's officials.

"I understand why Paul said what he said. Our conference has a rule about criticizing officials when you go against conference rules, something is bound to happen. The conference understood that Paul had a legitimate concern," Braine said. "Maybe he didn't handle it in the right way. Maybe you do things behind closed doors and not in the open."


Jack (right ankle sprain) did not participate in Tuesday's individual workouts. Forward Isma'il Muhammad (patella tendinitis) practiced and said his knee felt good.

"We'll see how it goes in practice tomorrow, going up and down the court. It was fine today in individual workout," said Muhammad, who missed the ACC Tournament because of the injury. "I'll just have to tough it out and play through some pain."

Muhammad and Jack are expected to play against George Washington on Friday in Nashville, Tenn.


The Yellow Jackets, the No. 5 seed in the Albuquerque Regional, downplayed the history of upsets by No. 12 seeds in the first round. George Washington is the 12th seed.

No. 12 seeds have won 26 first-round games since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. In 15 of the last 16 tournaments, at least one No. 12 seed has won a first-round game.

"This year, seeds mean nothing," Hewitt said. "This year, I think that the Nos. 3-9 seeds you could throw up into a hat and it would make no difference."