Refs disciplined for web access

Several college basketball referees, including one prominent Big Ten official, have been disciplined for accessing unauthorized information on a refereeing software website, sources told ESPN.com on Thursday.

Sources said that log-in information to BlueZebraSports.com -- an officiating website whose clientele includes many of the Division I college basketball conferences -- was compromised and passed on to several officials.

Those officials had the ability to access secure information such as game schedules and compensation of other officials. One source said that each conference had its own tailored setup.

Bradley Batt, the owner of BlueZebra Sports, sent out a letter to his clients in which he divulged that two clients -- who are also coordinators of lower-level college leagues -- abused their access as administrators of their own websites and "manipulated our system in a malicious manner to gain access to the sites of coordinators for whom they worked."

Bo Boroski, who officiated the NCAA tournament this past season and also did the Big Ten tournament semifinals each of the past two years, will not work any game assignments in the league this season because of the violations, sources told ESPN.com.

"He's one of the best guys in our league," one Big Ten coach told ESPN.com.

A source told ESPN.com that Boroski was found to have accessed his own game assignments. However, the same source said he was not obtaining sensitive information regarding other officials.

The Collegiate Officiating Consortium -- which comprises several conferences, including the Big Ten -- said in a statement to ESPN.com that the access issues were corrected and disciplinary action was taken against the individuals involved.

"The integrity of the officiating program is paramount, and we appreciate the cooperation of all involved throughout the process," the statement said.

Boroski told ESPN.com on Thursday that there was "no malicious intent" on his part.

"It was stupid," said one referee, who requested anonymity and will not work this season. "It fell in our lap, but it wasn't with ill intent. We're not computer hackers. We're kicking ourselves why we did it, but it fell in our lap."

Another referee, Martin Cota, who worked primarily WAC and Big West games last season, said he was innocent of the allegations.

"My lawyer told me not to discuss the details," Cota said. "But I'm going to fight it. I didn't do anything wrong."

BlueZebra Sports is used by the Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12, Big East and Mountain West.

"Even though the problem has been addressed and remedied, this is still an ongoing investigation," Batt said in an email to ESPN.com.

In the letter sent out to his clients, Batt said that changes have been made to "ensure the exploit that was used could not occur again."

"They manipulated our system in a malicious manner to gain access to the sites of coordinators for whom they worked," Batt wrote to his clients. "We did not expect to have to guard against malicious behavior of our own clients who were also coordinators of other conferences.

"Our next step was to contact the coordinators and conferences whose information was improperly accessed. We provided them reports with full disclosure of what happened and what was accessed. In addition, we terminated our agreements with both clients who abused the system to access information in an unauthorized manner."