Higgins calls Big 12 hardest league in the country to officiate

Dec 28, 2018; Lubbock, TX, USA; Official John Higgins during the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros at United Supermarkets Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

John Higgins has long been considered one of the best officials in college basketball and during a radio interview on Monday, he gave some insight on officiating in college basketball’s best conference.

Higgins appeared on Omaha 1620 The Zone’s Sharp and Benning program Monday morning to discuss the state of college officiating before he’ll head to Kansas City to work the Big 12 Tournament this weekend.

He knows he’ll have his work cut out for him with this weekend’s games.

“That’s the hardest conference in the country to referee,” Higgins said. “The intensity is unlike no other league. When the ball goes up to the basket, you have like six or eight guys trying to rebound the ball and it’s like a scrum inside and you’re trying to decide what’s legal, what’s not legal, to blow your whistle. It’s really different.”

Anybody who has watched Big 12 basketball this season knows Higgins is 100 percent correct with this assessment. The league has built a reputation as the nation’s most physical and that fact is certainly infuriating to fans at times.

Apparently, the officials are just as in-tune to how tough Big 12 basketball is on a nightly basis.

“It’s funny,” Higgins said. “It’s different than the West Coast and it’s different than the East Coast. It’s definitely different than the Southeast. It’s just really, really, really intense.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.