The Mountain West Conference issued UNM head basketball coach Steve Alford a public reprimand for “unduly” verbal language aimed at BYU senior Jonathan Tavernari, after the Lobos defeated the Cougars at the Provo, Utah Marriott Center on Saturday, 83-81.
Alford’s actions were in violation of the Mountain West Conference’s sportsmanship rules, according to a statement sent out by the conference in an e-mail.

During postgame handshakes, Alford and Tavernari were involved in a verbal spat which was broadcast on television because Tavernari refused to shake Alford’s hand, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

“You’re an asshole,” Alford yelled at Tavernari, before the two were
separated by members of their respective staffs.

Greg Remington, associate Athletics director of media relations, said Alford will address the reprimand after UNM hosts TCU on Wednesday.

Under Rule 4 in the MWC Handbook, Alford won’t be further penalized, but subsequent offenses would result in a two-game suspension, according to MWC provisions.

Before the reprimand was issued, Alford said in Monday’s news conference he apologized to Tavernari and BYU head coach Dave Rose over the phone.

“I think what happens is you get in the heat of the moment and you have two big teams fighting like crazy, and they are two competitive teams,” Alford said. “The
unfortunate thing is we are all competitors, and we don’t like each other when we are competing. It’s not like I was rooting for BYU, and they were rooting for UNM. It’s a shame in a college basketball game of that magnitude, somebody had to lose, because that was a great college basketball game.”

Preceding the altercation between Alford and Tavernari, junior-college transfer Darington Hobson had an exchange with Tavernari, after Tavernari attempted to steal the ball from Hobson. The two tussled before being restrained.