Referee John Higgins Sues Kentucky Sports Radio over Harassment Claims

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2017

A basketball is seen on the court wight he SEC logo during the second half of the NCAA college basketball Southeastern Conference tournament championship game between Kentucky and Arkansas, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

College basketball referee John Higgins filed a lawsuit against Kentucky Sports Radio on Tuesday, claiming the media company incited death threats against him during last year's NCAA tournament.

According to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com), Higgins is asking for at least $75,000 in damages. Higgins claims the Kentucky Sports Radio stoked the flames after Kentucky coach John Calipari was critical of the referees in the Wildcats' loss to North Carolina.

"You know, it's amazing that we were in that game where they practically fouled out my whole team," Calipari told reporters after the loss. "Amazing that we had a chance."

The complaint highlights Matthew Jones and Drew Franklin as the two hosts who incited threats against the ref. Jones called Higgins' refereeing "putrid" and then mentioned him on the program the day after the Wildcats' loss.

According to the suit: "After defendants' publication of Mr. Higgins' business and contact information, as well as their encouragement and enticement to thousands of people to utilize the contact information, Weatherguard received over 3,000 phone calls during the two days after the game, of which approximately 75 percent were from Kentucky area codes."

KSR released its own statement calling the suit frivolous.

"The Higgins lawsuit against KSR is frivolous and without any legal merit whatsoever. We will defend it and expect a favorable result quickly," KSR said.

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