Caught on Cam: High School Basketball Coach Appears to Head-Butt Referee

Officials are reviewing a video of a high school basketball coach appearing to head-butt a referee during a game in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Tuesday night.

The incident occurred toward the end of a game at Neshaminy High School in Langhorne.

Local radio station WBCB1490 was livestreaming the game between Neshaminy and Pennsbury.

The livestream shows Neshaminy head coach Jerry Devine react to an offensive foul call by walking toward one of the referees. He then appears to head-butt the ref, knocking him down to the ground. He is then thrown out of the game.

"The call itself was a controversial call," said Chris Ermer of WBCB Radio. "When I saw it happen live I thought it was more of a belly to belly kind of a bump. But after taking a look at some of the videos it does look like it's more of an upper body thrust that was part of that action." 

While Ermer admits the video is shocking he also believes Devine deserves a second chance.

"This is a crime of passion where he was swept up in the moment," Ermer said. "Crimes of passion deserve some type of punishment but I think there's a different level of discipline sometimes that is justified." 

Police say they're waiting to speak to the referee in the video. They also say however that if he decides not to pursue a criminal case they'll leave the investigation to the Neshaminy School District as well as the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).

The Neshaminy School District said in a statement that the administration is "conducting a thorough review" of the incident and that "appropriate action was taken at the game following that incident."

Here's the full statement from the District:

"The administration at Neshaminy School District is conducting a thorough review of an incident at the varsity basketball game Tuesday evening (January 5, 2016) involving coach Jerry Devine and a referee.

Appropriate action was taken at the game following that incident, and further measures may follow depending on the outcome of that review. As this is a personnel matter, we will not be able to comment on the specifics of any possible disciplinary action until that review process is complete.

Mr. Devine has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of that review for both his teaching and coaching positions.

The athletic program at Neshaminy places the values of fair play and sportsmanlike conduct above all. We expect our coaches and staff to teach and uphold those principles, while acting in a professional manner at all times."

The PIAA also released the following statement:

“PIAA has received the disqualification report from the official and we have contacted the school and the contest officials regarding this game. The coach is minimally disqualified from the next game and the school has been notified to report what additional corrective actions and penalties they will take in regard to this unacceptable act. The safety of players, officials and team personnel is our highest priority. Actions such as this will not be tolerated. We will monitor this situation to ensure safety of all participants.”

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