Big Ten hits Iowa WR Nico Ragaini with public reprimand for expletive-laden criticism of officiating

Iowa wide receiver Nico Ragaini was given a public reprimand by the Big Ten on Wednesday following comments he made about officiating on Tuesday.

Ragaini was asked about a play from Saturday’s Iowa vs. Iowa State game. A pass intended for Ragaini was intercepted by Iowa State’s Jeremiah Cooper. There was quite a bit of contact on the play, but no penalty for pass interference was called.

Ragaini wasn’t exactly shy in voicing his opinion.

“What’s the NCAA or Big Ten going to fine me if I say that’s a horse-s*** f***ing call?” Ragaini said to local reporters in Iowa City. “I probably shouldn’t have dropped an f-bomb in there, but goddamn.”

As a result of those comments, the Big Ten said Ragaini violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy and issued the reprimand.

“The Big Ten Conference expects all contests involving a member institution to be conducted without compromise to any fundamental element of sportsmanship. Such fundamental elements include integrity of the competition, civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials,” the policy says.

In a statement released through the Iowa athletic department, Ragaini apologized for his “choice of language.”

“I want to apologize for my public criticism of Saturday’s officiating. I am a competitive person and player. My comments reflected my passion for the game. And I apologize for my choice of language,” Ragaini said.

The play that led to Ragaini's comments came when Iowa had a 10-0 lead late in the first half. Two plays later, Iowa returned the favor with an interception of its own, except this one was returned 30 yards for a touchdown by Sebastian Castro to give the Hawkeyes a 17-0 lead.

Iowa went on to win, 20-13, to improve to 2-0 on the year. The Hawkeyes will host Western Michigan on Saturday before opening Big Ten play on the road vs. Penn State on Sept. 23.