ACC cuts ties with referee Karl Hess; also won't work further AAC games

Friday January 9th, 2015

Official Karl Hess has been terminated by the ACC following his use of a racial comment at a fan during last Sunday's game between Louisville and Wake Forest, Hess told

Hess also said he has withdrawn from all AAC games, including Sunday's game between Houston and Memphis, and Big East supervisor of officials John Cahill told ESPN that the league was conducting its own investigation into Hess.

"It's a sad day and is devastating," Hess told ESPN on Friday. "But I'm responsible."

"I wasn't trying to deliberately hurt anyone," he added. "That's not my character. I goof around a lot, and there was no intent to hurt anyone."

The racial comment in question was directed at Mit Shah, an Atlanta hotel magnate and the former chairman of the Wake Forest board of trustees. Shah tweeted the following after last Sunday's game (the tweet itself appears to have been deleted):

Karl Hess to me at the Wake-Louisville game tonight..."When I'm older, I want to sit in your seat & watch your Egyptian ass ref a game" #Wow

Hess also does games for the SEC and Big 12. Officials work as independent contractors with conferences on a year-to-year basis, so Hess' status with those two leagues is unchanged as of yet.

Hess has been in trouble with the ACC in the past. He was publicly reprimanded in 2012 following an incident in which he ejected N.C. State alumni Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani​, and he hadn't worked an N.C. State home game since until last month.

Ben Estes

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