NCAA Ref From Omaha Receives Death Threats After Kentucky Loss

(WOWT) Investigators with Sarpy County are going through thousands of angry voicemails left for a local NCAA referee. Referee John Higgins of Omaha says he's received death threats after Kentucky's loss to North Carolina in the NCAA South Regional final.

"When the investigator was there yesterday, the phone did not stop ringing. It was pretty much constant," said Capt. Dan Shukis, Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office. “Harassing phone calls and or threats.”

The investigation is a first of its kind for detectives who are reviewing more than 3,000 voicemails left at John Higgins' roofing company in Sarpy County.

After their loss to North Carolina Sunday in a game Higgins refereed, bad reviews started flooding his company's Facebook page. Negative comments inundated the page about Higgins and the quality of his company's work.

"We'll look into whether there's any threats or harassment occurring locally first," said Shukis. "We'll look in where it originated from and why."

It was after Kentucky Sports Radio KSR started reading the nasty reviews on their sports talk show, naming Higgins' business, that the calls really started to pour in. Radio host started the segment by saying he doesn't advocate any harassment.

In a statement Wednesday, the Kentucky athletic department says it encourages fans to demonstrate good sportsmanship and discourages other kind of behavior. Some have used the page to come to Higgins' defense; leaving five star reviews and apologizing for bad sportsmanship conduct of the thousands of negative callers.

It could take days for investigators to listen to each voicemail. Shukis said, "I think it's going to take quite a while for the investigator to just sift through these though first."

Omaha Police say they're providing extra attention to his home because some of the angry messages apparently threatened death.


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