NORMAL — Redbird Nation was still seething Monday about a flagrant personal foul they deemed cost Illinois State’s basketball team a chance to beat Wichita State the night before.

Turns out they might be right … well, sort of.

ISU’s Jackie Carmichael was called for a Flagrant 1 personal foul with 40 seconds left that proved to be a turning point and helped the Shockers rally for a 68-67 victory. The Missouri Valley Conference office Monday didn’t dispute the call, but Commissioner Doug Elgin said officials David Hall, Gerry Pollard and Paul Janssen made a mistake in giving two free throws to Cleanthony Early instead of Tekele Cotton.

“The Missouri Valley Conference has disciplined the basketball game officials for their administration of awarded free throws in the final moments of the Wichita State-Illinois State game on Sunday night at Redbird Arena,” said Elgin in a statement.

“Following a monitor review with :40 remaining, the officiating crew assessed a Flagrant 1 (personal) to Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael. The incorrect student-athlete from Wichita State shot the ensuing free throws.

“As with all officiating and personnel matters, discipline is being handled internally.”

Carmichael was called for kicking Cotton while coming down with a defensive rebound, although play was not stopped at the time. A Flagrant 1 is defined in the NCAA rulebook as “a personal foul that is deemed excessive in nature and/or unnecessary, but not based solely on the severity of the act.”

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall requested the officials go to the replay monitor — which coaches are allowed to do — to see if a Flagrant 2 foul for illegal contact above an opponent’s shoulders occurred after the Shockers were called for a foul a couple seconds later.

The Shockers would have been charged a timeout if no call was determined after watching the replay. A Flagrant 1 personal was issued, but not a Flagrant 2 which could have resulted in Carmichael’s ejection.

Johnny Hill sank two free throws to give ISU a 67-60 lead. Early then stepped to the line and made both free throws resulting from Carmichael’s flagrant foul. However, Cotton should have been the shooter because he was the one fouled.

How big was that? Early came into the game shooting a team-high 80.9 percent at the line, while Cotton was at 58.6 percent.

Three-pointers by Demetric Williams and Early, sandwiched around a costly ISU turnover, gave the Shockers a stunning win and kept them in the Valley lead.

“I have not spoken to anyone in the Valley office. I exchanged some e-mails a little bit and may talk to someone today, but I did want to get some clarification on some of the rules of it,” said ISU’s Dan Muller during the Valley coaches’ teleconference Monday morning.

“It’s past us and we’re moving on to Evansville for the most part, but I want make sure I know exactly what’s going on going forward so I’m ready in those situations as much as anybody.”

ISU (16-11, 7-8) had its four-game winning streak snapped ahead of Wednesday’s game at Evansville. The Redbirds are tied with Evansville and Bradley for fifth place in the Valley with three games left. The top six teams avoid the play-in round at the Valley Tournament on March 7 in St. Louis.

The use of replays has soared this season in college basketball much to the chagrin of fans everywhere.

Valley coaches seemed split on officials going to the monitor when asked about it during Monday’s teleconference.

“If replay means getting the call accurate and right than I think we should have ability to use it,” said Creighton coach Greg McDermott.

However, McDermott said he doesn’t like the use of replay on flagrant fouls.

“The intent was to make sure there was not intentional flagrant swinging of the elbows where you clear someone intentionally and try to size someone up and let him have it,” he said. “I don’t think what has transpired and where this has gone is where us, as coaches, were hoping that it would go.”

Southern Illinois’ Barry Hinson said he also is a believer in using replay, as is Muller. Hinson watched the entire ISU-Wichita State game on television.

“I thought Jackie went up to get a rebound, kicked his legs out but not intentionally to hurt anybody,” he said. “The way it happened and the result then it becomes a judgment and a ruling. You have three officials and all three officials are good officials — as a matter of fact they’re not good, but great — they have a judgment call and they made it.

“It happened to be a very big call. It’s just part of the game.”

Ben Jacobson is in the coaching camp to do away with all replays.

“I’m not a fan of replay whether it’s college basketball or pro sports,” said the Northern Iowa coach. “I understand the day and age we live in and the availability of it and why we use it. I think you end up going to it so often it interrupts the flow of the game.”

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(13) comments

Market Street Lover

I am not totally against replay, so to get the call right, but to have replay and then still get the call wrong, by sending the wrong person to the line is totally unecusable. It is like the Redbirds have a curse.


You can blame the refs, what about the integrity of Early for stepping to the line and shooting the free throws? Nothing but a thug/gang banger in a basketball uniform. Someone on ISU's coaching staff was caught in the excitement and asleep at the wheel.

yosemite sam

If Early was a white player would you say the same thing? What about the Shockers head coach? He knew it was wrong but sent Early to the line anyway.
The Redbird coaches were heard complaining to the officials about who was shooting.


Wrong, Muller was discussing it with them and Pollard ignored him.


Isn't it also a technical foul on the shooting team if they send the wrong shooter to the free throw line? Used to be one of the oldest tricks of all time, Of course the officials would have to know the rules and be aware enough of what was going on to make a call like that. According to other accounts the official scorer and several others tried to tell them that the wrong person was shooting the free throws and they were ignored. Maybe the officials thought since it was a technical foul that anyone could shoot them. Pretty poor job, especially for as long as it took to review it and unlike me, you would expect the officials to know the rules...


Wonder how much this entire conversation has any relevance if ISU hadn't blown the lead against Wichita State at home? Maybe an article should also address that issue regarding his team.


You are 100% correct. I'm an ISU fan, but embarrassed by the fans blaming the loss on one call and the failure of the fans and Pantagraph to address the blown lead. This was the fourth blown double digit lead this year.

Pist'L Packin' Mama

It's a game people. A mistake was made. How many of you have never made a mistake that had an unfortunate consequence? The mistake resulted in a W or a L on a piece of paper. WOW!!!!! And, Right57 your commenet is so bigoted the Pantagraph failed in allowing it to be put in print.


I would disagree, this was no mistake. What Early done and coach Marshall allowed to happen was intentional with desired results. It is more more than a W or L on a piece of paper, the L for ISU has impacts to conference standing and the number of games they have to play in the valley tournament. Coach Marshall should have post season suspensions charged to him.

Pist'L Packin' Mama

I hope you are joking. There was a mistake. Look up the word in the dictionary. As for the WSU coach and player, if a win is the result of deliberate intent to deceive, they will have to live with it. Irrespective of what penalty they may receive, which they shouldn't as it was the officials who made the mistake, it still remains as a W or an L on a piece of paper. If you want to get right down to it, ISU blew a seventeen point lead, took a terrible three point shot with a two point lead early in the shot clock with the game on the line; dribbled the ball out of bounds; shot a terrible percentage the second half; and, outshot WSU from the free throw line. They didn't get homered, the officials made a mistake. Accept it!!


We're going to find out now if Mueller can coach or not. If he can get himself and his team to forget about Sunday's game and win in Evansville, he can coach.


Have to admit. An ISU win was stolen by poor officiating , Hill's bobble, etc....but not gonna blame Jackie. I have missed the fire in JC all year. This showed me non softness. So kudos. Wrong foul shooter blame only goes to refs. Our coaches pleaded. Look out in tourney boys. These boys are gonna make a stand.

Para World Peace
Para World Peace

I have to believe that Gregg Marshall stole a win here. Not sure what that says about his integrity, but it did put a W in the win column and help insulate his team's chances for an NCAA at-large bid so I guess in the culture that makes him a successful coach. And while it's true this was another blown lead for ISU it wasn't nearly the same as the Wyoming game, for instance. In that game ISU quit in the second half . In this one they fought and competed to the end. The Wichita State game at least represents progress in that regard.

A good team (and despite their questionable ethics, I believe Wichita State is a good team) is going to make runs when they're down in a game so I can't 100% fault the Redbirds for losing a double digit lead. (Although I believe they could have played better, and hopefully they'll figure out how from reviewing the tapes.) When a game like this one becomes close the officials owe it to the players and the fans to stay on top of things and make the right calls. They didn't in this game (or were arguably swayed by the entreaties of the opposing side's coach) and it gave WSU enough additional momentum that they were just able to come out on top.

To the comments in this string that this is only a game, thereby somehow diminishing the importance of the outcome; some would argue that life itself is a game. I suppose taking that perspective it would make this outcome no more or less important than any other in life. (Of course I believe at the heart of the matter are meta-values like justice and fair play, and equitable outcomes. It's the perceived violation of those values that people are reacting to in their interpretation of the results of last Sunday's ISU-WSU game.)

GO REDBIRDS! BEAT EVANSVILLE!!! (Basketball is, after all, a zero-sum game.)

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