Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey’s comments following Saturday’s loss at Florida State were costly.

Two days after Notre Dame coach Mike Brey voiced his displeasure about game officiating and his belief about the way his college basketball program often is viewed in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the league dropped a hammer.

It was a heavy one. It was an expensive one for Notre Dame following Brey’s 64-second post-game press conference after Saturday’s loss to No. 5 Florida State.

The ACC announced Monday morning that it fined Notre Dame $20,000 and publicly reprimanded Brey for violating the ACC Sportsmanship Policy.

The policy states that “public criticism of officials or public comments evaluating the officiating of particular contests is not in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics. Individuals associated with the athletics program are prohibited, therefore, from commenting while acting in an official capacity on officiating other than directly to the Conference office.”

Brey said after the 85-84 loss that at times he feels like his program is treated differently by league officials because Notre Dame is not a member of the ACC for football. Notre Dame joined the ACC in 2013 for all sports but football and hockey.

On Monday, Brey made his first comments since Saturday in Tallahassee during the league’s weekly coach’s teleconference.

“I certainly accept my reprimand for my comments,” Brey said. “I will take my medicine like a man and accept responsibility on that. I’ll try to be a good guy the rest of the season, but I can’t guarantee anything.”

He was joking with that last comment.

Monday was the first time that Brey has been publicly reprimanded and the university fined for his comments by a conference during his 20 seasons.

On Saturday, Brey questioned two calls and one non-call and mentioned one game official, John Gaffney, by name in the post-game. After calling a traveling violation on Irish guard Rex Pflueger late in the second half, Gaffney issued a bench technical on Notre Dame.

“Come on, man, we’re in the league, too!” Brey barked as he left the post-game interview dais without taking questions. “We’re in the league, too! Come on! Come on, John Gaffney! God!”

Not only is Notre Dame in the league, it’s been pretty good in arguably one of the nation’s best men’s basketball conference over the last five years. That success included winning the ACC tournament championship in 2015 when it beat league flagship programs Duke and North Carolina on consecutive nights in Greensboro, N.C., home of the league office.

Notre Dame nearly won a second ACC tournament championship two years later in New York before losing power forward Bonzie Colson to a sprained ankle late in the second half and losing to Duke in the championship game.

With that run of success — Notre Dame won at least 11 league games three straight seasons (20015-17) while also winning at North Carolina and at Duke and advancing to two straight NCAA tournament Elite Eights— Brey was asked Monday why football should even be an issue for anyone around his program.

“I’m not going to talk any more about football and all of that,” Brey said. “I made my comments the other night. We’re not going to talk football.”

A Notre Dame spokesperson said it would not have any comment from athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

Earlier this month, the Southeastern Conference issued a $25,000 fine and public reprimand of Mississippi State coach Ben Howland after he violated a league by-law that prohibits coaches from publicly criticizing officials or making public any comments with officials related to officiating.

The ACC indicated that the funds from the fine will go into the league’s post-graduate scholarship account. It will have no further comment.

Notre Dame (11-8, 2-6 ACC) has lost its last two league games by three points and its last three by six. The Irish return to action Wednesday at home against Wake Forest. It’s the first of three straight league games at Purcell Pavilion.

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(15) comments


Brey got off very, very, light. He should have been fined $100,000.00 and suspended for three games. At a minimum. He did not simply criticize the competence of the officials, which is bad enough. He openly and publicly accused them of perpetrating a sinister conspiracy against Notre Dame. And by so doing, Brey malevolently undermined and betrayed the fundamental integrity of the college basketball. His behavior, even for the low-brow Brey, was stunning and appalling.


Did you see the game? I did and I'm glad he had the guts to say it. There was also a call Dane Goodwin on a rebound positioning call that was horrible also. He's frustrated over not only last season but close games this season. As for the fundemental integrity of college basketball, if it had intergrity North Carolina and Louisville programs would be under heavy penalties for past sins. Don't even go there.


"As for the fundemental integrity of college basketball, if it had intergrity North Carolina and Louisville programs would be under heavy penalties for past sins. Don't even go there."

I'll go there, and I'll go there directly and without even a hint of equivocation. What Brey did at that press conference was absolutely unforgivable. Forgetting, for the moment, that he howled like a coyote and stomped out of the room like a petulant child, he did something far worse. So to remind you, Notre Dame Head Basketball Coach Mike Brey accused ACC referees of corruption and game-fixing. It was, and is, a shocking claim. It is also utterly without evidence or support, and, I repeat for emphasis, it strikes at the core integrity of the game. Because if the referees are in fact corrupt, and if they do act with specific prejudice in order to game-fix, then the games nothing but fraudulent theater.


What a joke......


rays1969 I completely agree. It's getting ridiculous how Officials in every conference remain incompetent year after year and yet they continue to work games. Mike Brey, like many, had finally had enough. I have zero issue with his rant. The officiating flat out Sucked in that game!! I'm not a huge Brey supporter but Good for him on this one. The ACC Refs are a disgrace.


So mr. Caldwell what does North Carolina's fake classes sham that was swept under the rug do to the Integrity of the game?


Why would you think I would defend academic fraud at UNC?


It was a colossal blunder for ND to join this very corrupt southern conference and anyone with any brains would never have made that kind of glaring error. I agree totally with Mike Brey in this instance and the ACC is a money hungry conference. If it were up to me I would have ND leave the ACC immediately. ND should refuse to pay a fine when the league is clearly at fault. Another huge issue is this ACC TV deal where no one can watch the games as Brey aptly pointed out


Mr. Caldwell, perhaps you did not see the 14.5 second clip of the end of the game either. Three fouls were overlooked, one, an unfortunate but MUST be called one where FSU #1 falls, causing Hubbs to trip over him and the ball goes out of bounds. Even in girls high school basketball, this is a foul.

It’s not a ‘no call’. It’s a trip. Plain and simple. Let the ball determine the winner.


And so you, like Brey, think the ACC officials conspired to fix the game against ND?


You are so right.

jim masterson

Coach Brey, always a class act. I think the fact that this team is lacking in so many facets of the game is taking its toll. The ACC has and will always be a basketball centric league, Clemson in football is the outlier. And I think it is difficult for Coach Brey to recruit the caliber of players to Notre Dame. A primary example is UNC being granted full pardon for bogus classes, and both flagship universities(Duke, UNC) embracing the One and Done.


Winning the game would eliminate the bad officiating. I know it's a novel idea but it could work with some better coaching.

Ludwig von Football

ND is hated by many people in the ACC and the NCAA. Everything in the ACC regarding basketball is centered around Duke and North Carolina. The NCAA's goal is to place all teams in conferences that they control. The NCAA wants control over all revenue. In short they want to operate like a totalitarian regime. They want to force ND football into a conference so they can control everything. Why did we have to go to the Camping World Bowl when we deserved much better? Why were we given a ridiculous penalty when we self-reported minor academic violations by a tutor? The reason is because we aren't totally controlled by the NCAA cartel.

What Brey said after the Florida State loss was typical of what frustrated coaches often think. Most of the time coaches hold their tongues but every now and then the frustration boils over. I didn't see the game and the replay that is available on youtube has poor picture quality so it's impossible to see if the bad calls were really bad calls.


Durham's steal & layup has to be a &1. The call on Goodwin was a bulls$$t call, that was definitely a over the back call. Then 2 consecutive walking calls were ridiculous.

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