Referee Karl Hess will not call any more Atlantic Coast Conference basketball games this season following allegations the official used an ethnic slur during a game between Wake Forest and Louisville, according to multiple reports.
Mit Shaw, a Wake Forest booster of Indian descent, claimed Hess directed a slur at him during a Demon Deacon game Sunday against the Cardinals.
Shaw, former chairman of the Wake Forest board of trustees and CEO of Noble Investment Group, an Atlanta-based hotel company, shared the referee's remark on Twitter.
Hess told ESPN on Friday he made the comment as a joke.
"I wasn't trying to deliberately hurt anyone," Hess said. "That's not my character. I goof around a lot, and there was no intent to hurt anyone."
Hess' removal from ACC basketball games will not affect his ability to officiate games from other conferences, including the Southeastern Conference, American Athletic Conference and Colonial Conference.
"It's a sad day and is devastating," Hess said. "But I'm responsible."
Hess was publicly reprimanded by the ACC after a February 2012 game in which he ejected former North Carolina State players Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani from their seats for "excessive demonstration."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme