The business practices of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) men’s basketball officiating coordinator Fred Barakat came under scrutiny from Referee. Our probe uncovered that Barakat was making a fortune by hiring only officials who had paid to attend one of his camps. If you wanted to work in the ACC, you had to pay to be a camper. Fees paid by campers and payments from shoe companies for providing officials to invitational player camps put more than $60,000 into Barakat’s pocket annually.
Barakat was a former coach with no officiating experience and thus was unsuited for training officials. So he used established ACC referees as unpaid clinicians, although he said he paid for their travel, room and board and other considerations. An unspoken but understood caveat was that an official who didn’t help as a clinician would receive few or no games from Barakat.
The camp came to light at the same time John Swofford took over as commissioner of the ACC. Although Swofford said Barakat did nothing wrong by running the camps, he thought it was in the best interest of the ACC if the conference took over the camps. The conference made up for the lost income by increasing Barakat’s salary.