The Big Ten Conference on Monday issued a public reprimand of the Cornhuskers’ head coach and fined the university $10,000 for Pelini’s comments about the officiating in a loss to Iowa last week.
University spokeswoman Chris Anderson said the money will come out of Pelini’s compensation.
Pelini used an expletive at his postgame news conference while discussing a pass interference penalty against the Huskers. Pelini was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct during the game for swiping his hat at, and nearly hitting, the head linesman.
The Big Ten said Pelini violated the league’s sportsmanship policy, which requires ”civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials.”
Athletic director Shawn Eichorst said in a statement that Nebraska supports the sportsmanship policy.
”In that regard, we were disappointed with Coach Pelini’s actions this past Friday regarding game officials,” Eichorst said. ”We immediately recognized and addressed the situation with Coach Pelini and the Big Ten Conference. In addition, Coach Pelini acknowledged and accepted responsibility for the inappropriateness of his actions and issued a public apology in advance of this reprimand.”
Pelini, 45, has had a run of blowups in his six years as Nebraska’s coach. He’s issued two apologies for his conduct just this season. In September he came under fire after an audio of a profane tirade against fans went public. The rant came shortly after his team came from behind to beat Ohio State and was directed at fans that left the game early.
In the third quarter against Iowa he protested a pass-interference call on linebacker Zaire Anderson. Pelini took off his hat and nearly hit linesman Steve Matarante as he punched the air with his left fist.
Pelini said minutes after the game that the official flagged him because he got too close to him, but made it clear – with the help of an expletive — he thought it was a bad call.
”I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Pelini said. ”I’ve done a lot worse than that, and I saw (Iowa coach) Kirk Ferentz over on the other side acting a lot worse than I act. I didn’t see a flag come out on him. The bottom line is they knew they blew the call. They blew it. They blew that call over there on that third down. And everybody in the stadium knew it. They didn’t man up enough to pick that flag up.”
Eichorst on Saturday quashed speculation that Pelini’s job was in jeopardy after an 8-4 regular season that included three home losses for the first time since 2007. Pelini is under contract through 2017 and makes almost $3 million per year.