This sure seems like a sign of a power trip. I mean, a referee running all the way across the court during a timeout to wag a finger, essentially, at the Ohio State bench is a bit odd by itself. But making a safe signal? That's even more weird.
None of this made real sense at the time and it still doesn't. Why the safe signal? Why sprint to the Ohio State bench at a timeout heading into a media break? What in the world is with college basketball refs?
Certainly a new one, but maybe he's thinking of a career change.