Unlike Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm, this columnist is not subject to disciplinary action from the Big Ten Conference. So allow me to say what Brohm couldn’t following Friday night’s theft by referee at Minnesota.
In 50 years of watching college football, the offensive pass interference call that wiped out the go-ahead touchdown and likely cost Purdue a 38-34 victory ranks among the worst. One national website claimed it was “perhaps the worst call in college football history.”
Reading between the lines of Brohm’s statement Monday, it’s apparent the Big Ten concurs with Brohm but won’t issue an apology nor discuss any sanctions toward the side judge who made the call.
“I have heard and got communication back about the play,” Brohm said. “I’m not at liberty to speak about those conversations but I can say this. Of all people that I’ve talked to, there hasn’t been one that doesn’t totally agree with my assessment of the play . . . But it’s over with and we’ve moved on.”
Curiously, the side judge’s name was removed from the statistical package released by Minnesota after the game. But no one can hide from Internet detectives and it wasn’t two hours before that official’s name was uncovered. I won’t reveal it but let’s just say he didn’t have a long drive home from TCF Bank Stadium.
Imagine the fury had the situation been reversed and Minnesota had a victory taken away thanks to a call in Ross-Ade Stadium by an official who lives in West Lafayette.
The offensive pass interference call was so bad that several gambling websites announced on Twitter they were refunding money to those who bet on Purdue.
While we’re on the subject, these gambling websites that buy commercial time on nearly every sports channel remind me of the days when tobacco companies tried to portray smoking as cool to impressionable teenagers.
Gambling may not be hazardous to your physical health but it’s a threat to the integrity of those very sports leagues which tacitly approve of these sites just to put even more dollars in the bank. The Big Ten should be concerned that some of the first thoughts of fans following the call against Purdue were wondering if the official had a bet down or was “on the take.”
It’s extremely unlikely that this official was guilty of anything other than being incompetent. But the perception of misconduct is the price that comes with embracing any form of gambling, even if it’s legal and state approved.

More bad news
Purdue standout defensive end George Karlaftis tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, a blow to a unit that desperately needs his pass rushing skills.
Karlaftis was recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of the loss to Northwestern and limited his playing time at Minnesota.
An antigen test administered to Karlaftis Tuesday morning came back positive, according to the Purdue athletic department. The follow-up PCR test confirmed the result.
Karlaftis, who is at home in isolation, will miss the rest of the regular season due to the 21-day Big Ten protocol for positive COVID tests. His absence may force Purdue to shift linebacker Derrick Barnes back to end. Barnes matched Karlaftis with 7.5 sacks in 2019.

It’s basketball season
The 2020-21 Big Ten men's basketball schedule had only been released for what seemed like seconds when the jokes began flying on social media.
"How soon will Kevin Warren cancel the season? Wonder what the new schedule will look like?"
Such is the damage to the Big Ten's reputation caused by its first-year commissioner.
Assuming Warren doesn’t push the panic button in these times of rising COVID-19 cases, it appears the schedule makers did a young Purdue team several favors.
The Boilermakers will play league favorites Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin just one time. Only the Badgers, though, come to what likely will be an empty Mackey Arena on March 2.
Purdue opens conference play Dec. 16 against Ohio State in Mackey Arena. Following the Crossroads game with Notre Dame on the 19th, the Boilermakers seek to continue their recent success against Iowa on Dec. 22 in Iowa City.
Win or lose, Purdue won’t have much time to reflect on Iowa because for the first time in school history, it will play on Christmas Day when Maryland comes to Mackey Arena. That game is one of four Big Ten games that are scheduled to be played that day (Wisconsin at Michigan State, Iowa at Minnesota and Michigan at Nebraska).
The make or break stretch for Purdue could be a run of five games starting Dec. 29 which has the Boilermakers traveling to Rutgers and Illinois (Jan. 2), followed by a home game with Nebraska (Jan. 5). The stretch concludes at Michigan State (Jan. 8) and Indiana at Assembly Hall on Jan. 14.
The rematch with the Hoosiers in Mackey Arena could be a dramatic end to the conference season on March 6.
As for Indiana, a quirk of the Big Ten schedule will have the Hoosiers’ league opener taking place on Dec. 23, 10 days after Michigan hosts Penn State. Indiana will play three games in seven days, starting at home against Northwestern, a trip to Illinois on Dec. 26 and hosting Penn State on Dec. 30. A 2-1 start seems likely.
Indiana will play Illinois, Iowa and Michigan State twice. The Hoosiers play Wisconsin just once, at Madison on Jan. 7.

Things that make you feel old
Monday’s announcement by Homestead junior guard Fletcher Loyer that he will be a part of Purdue’s 2022 basketball recruiting class brought back memories of days covering his mother.
Katie McFarland Loyer was a three-sport athlete in the late 1980s at McCutcheon High School who would go on to play volleyball collegiately at Memphis and Indiana. Katie Loyer also has Purdue ties with a stint on the Purdue volleyball staff in 2002.
Fletcher Loyer’s decision will be a homecoming of sorts with the Tippecanoe County side of his family. Loyer’s grandfather, Al McFarland, played for the Boilermakers in 1964.

Noteworthy
Purdue junior forward Trevion Williams was selected to the Naismith Trophy watch list by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Williams already is on the Abdul-Jabbar Award list. That trophy goes to the nation’s top center.
He is expected to carry a bigger scoring load this season following the departure of Matt Haarms as a graduate transfer to BYU. Williams averaged 11.5 points and 7.6 rebounds in 21 minutes a game last season . . .
Indiana is favored by the league’s coaches and media to win the Big Ten women’s basketball title.
The Hoosiers’ Grace Berger and Ali Patberg earned preseason All-Big Ten recognition.
Purdue was not in the top five in either the coaches or media preseason poll . . .
It’s difficult to believe but Northwestern can clinch a berth in the Big Ten football championship game Saturday if the Wildcats beat Michigan State. That’s because Wisconsin’s game with Minnesota was called off due to an increase in COVID cases on the Gophers roster.
Northwestern is 5-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1996.

Kenny Thompson is the former sports editor for the Lafayette Journal & Courier and an award-winning journalist. He has covered Purdue athletics for many years.