First, it was college football. Now, college basketball may have a sign-stealing scandal of its own.
Tensions flared during a late-game exchange between Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger and Kansas State coach Jerome Tang. According to a report from The Wichita Eagle, Tang was angrily pointing to the crowd because he believed Iowa State planted team members into the crowd to steal signs from the Kansas State bench.
Coaches for Kansas State believed that those crowd plants were quickly passing information to the Iowa State bench through text messages. Tang alerted referees and tried to get arena security to handle things midway at the end of a second-half time-out. The Kansas State head coach could be seen on the ESPN+ broadcast telling officials “They’ve got three guys in the stands videoing our huddle.”
After nothing got done, Tang tried to cross midcourt to talk to Otzelberger about it, which drew a technical foul. The interaction ended with a tense exchange in the postgame handshake line.
Both coaches downplayed the exchange in the immediate aftermath.
“There’s a point in time where things are said between coaches that needs to stay that way,” Otzelberger said. “So that’s where we’re going to keep it.”
“Nothing happened,” Tang said. “We talked about a situation that took place during the game and he said he would check into it. Then I told him thank you and went on. I love TJ. He does a great job. What an unbelievable environment it was out there.”
Tang later added that he and Otzelberger would “go figure the other part of it out.” It is unclear whether a formal complaint has been filed with the Big 12.