Saturday, November 13, 2004

Mangino livid about penalty on Gordon

Coach: "It's called BCS. Keep that in mind"


After Saturday's 27-23 loss to Texas, Kansas University coach Mark Mangino wanted to talk about one specific play.

Not Vince Young's 22-yard scamper on fourth-and-18 that kept the Longhorns' final drive alive.

Not Young's 22-yard touchdown pass to Tony Jeffery with 11 seconds left that gave Texas the victory.

No, Mangino wanted to discuss the offensive pass interference call on Charles Gordon that negated a first down that would have kept KU's final drive alive and possibly kept the Longhorns from getting back on the field for the game-winning score.

"The whole nation watched that play," Mangino said when first asked if he had talked to the officials about the call. "I don't need to get any feedback. People sat and watched the game on Fox today, in their living rooms. They'll be the judge of that call."

Before a member of the media could ask the next question, Mangino decided he had more to say - including an implication that the Longhorns' chance at a Bowl Championship Series bowl game had something to do with the call.

"Let me interrupt you for a second," he said. "It's called BCS. Keep that in mind."

After questions about KU's game against Missouri next weekend and Brian Luke, Mangino expressed disbelief that no reporters had asked another question about the penalty on Gordon.

"You guys that write and have opinions are not going to ask me about what I thought about - or what you guys thought about the end of the game and how things went?"

A reporter brought up the call, and Mangino described the move Gordon used to get free from the Texas defender as an everyday football procedure.

"He executed a move that's taught by every offensive coach in America," Mangino said. "The guy got into his body. He made a swim move, which is taught by every wide receiver coach in America - NFL, high school and college."

When asked what the referee had told him about the call, Mangino said, "nothing," and then expounded on why he thought the call was made.

"You know what this is all about, don't you?" he asked. "That's right - BCS. That's what made a difference in this game. That's what made a difference in the call in front of their bench - dollar signs."

Mangino added that Gordon felt "terrible" about the call.

"He's one of the best players in the conference," Mangino said of Gordon. "He knows how to play football."

A reporter then asked if Mangino thought the Big 12 Conference would review the play.

"They're not going to change the call or anything," Mangino said. "All of America sat at home and watched the play. All college football fans who watched the game today - we'll let them be the judge about that call.

"$10,000? $10,000. I've got a team to fight for - I've got a football team to fight for and I'm not going to be pushed around or this university be pushed around because we're not the big spenders, we're not the big BCS team in the league. I'm not going to put up with that."

Mangino then pointed out that he hasn't been known as a coach who is afraid to blame himself for a loss, but that he didn't feel that was the case this time.

"You guys have sat here for three years," he said to the reporters. "Have I made an excuse about losing a game here? Any of you? Chuck (Woodling, of the Journal-World, who shook his head), you've been sitting in here. How about you, Jason (King, of the Kansas City Star)?"

A reporter then asked about why Mangino stopped talking to the officials about the call, rather than continuing to argue his point.

"I had to give up on talking to those guys," he said, "because the game's on national TV and I don't want it to make it seem like I'm more worried about the officials than I am about coaching the game. So I had to surrender after a while."

When a reporter asked Mangino if he was saying that the referees made the call to try to assure Texas a BCS bowl game and the accompanying windfall for the Big 12 Conference, Mangino stopped short of agreeing.

"You said that," he said. "I didn't say that. You've got to draw your own conclusions."
Late Saturday night, Mangino apologizes for his comments in a statement.

"After an emotional loss, in our senior's last home game, I made remarks that I regret. Any implications that BCS standings played a role in Saturday afternoon's game was inappropriate. I have always supported the BCS system and will continue to do so."

KU athletic director Lew Perkins added the following. "I support coach Mangino as our football coach and I also support the integrity of all of the individuals associated with the Big 12 Conference."

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