Veteran NCAA referee Ted Valentine, revered as one of the best in the profession, will not be working any games in the NCAA Tournament.
Valentine told ESPN that he had a falling out with the NCAA stemming from an incident in January in which he turned his back on North Carolina's Joel Berry during a game. He says backlash from the incident has created a wave of negativity that is now affecting his assignments in the Big Dance.
"This is not right, it's just not fair," Valentine told ESPN. "It hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm being punished unjustly."
Valentine says he was informed by NCAA coordinator of official J.D. Collins of the decision to bypass him for assignments, which came just prior to him officiating the Wichita State-Houston AAC semifinal game Saturday.
Following the incident with Joel Berry, Valentine buried the hatchet with the Tar Heels senior. But all was not forgotten with the NCAA.
Valentine is a respected official, however he's earned quite the reputation over the years for his flair for the dramatic side. His exuberant personality has earned him the nickname of "TV Teddy," although he has admitted he took it too far in the incident in question
"I screwed up," Valentine told ESPN about the January incident. "But I went back a week later and apologized, and he and I were joking and kidding. It was no big deal. I even pulled him out of a situation where he could have gotten a technical foul."
Valentine, who has been officiating for 34 years, says he was pulled off two Big Ten games earlier this season because of the UNC incident. He brieflybecause of the backlash.