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Dec 12

Brawls have no place in college basketball

I covered a basketball game that included a brawl. It was no fun.
It happened on Feb. 10, 2003 at Eastern Kentucky University in a game between the Colonels and Tennessee State. This incident came to my remembrance after the Cincinnati-Xavier incident Saturday.
At latest report from the Associated Press, a southwest Ohio prosecutor will consider criminal charges in the aftermath of a brawl at the end of the Cincinnati-Xavier basketball game Saturday.
Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said in a statement Monday that his office will review the fight to determine whether any charges are appropriate. He declined further comment.
Each team suspended four players after their annual “Crosstown Shootout” basketball game on Saturday ended in a melee.
Cincinnati’s Yancy Gates got the longest suspension, six games. Gates bloodied one Xavier player with a punch to the face and hit at least one other opponent during the fracas.
Referees ended the game with 9.4 seconds left. Xavier, ranked No. 8, won the game on its home court, 76-53.
Officials and coaches have offered apologies and expressed embarrassment.
Here’s the recap that I did for the Associated Press on the EKU-Tennessee State brawl nearlynine years ago:

RICHMOND (AP) — Just seven players remained on the floor to finish a game between Tennessee State and Eastern Kentucky on Monday night because 19 players were ejected following a benches-clearing brawl.
“It was just complete chaos,”Eastern Kentucky coach Travis Ford said. “Nobody really knows what happened.”
Eastern won the game 89-72 and finished with four players, while Tennessee State was left with three after Jeremy Jackson fouled out. Before that, the teams went 4-on-4 because so many players had been tossed out, either for participating in the fight or leaving the bench area.
The fight began with 8:13 to play and Eastern ahead 72-58. Eastern’s Shawn Fields had the ball when a hard foul was called on Tennessee State’s Cedric Bryson, prompting players from both benches to run onto the court.
Bryson, Fields and Eastern’s Kenyatta Dix and Champ Slaughter were ejected for fighting, while nine players from both teams were ejected for leaving the bench. The rest of those who were playing when the fight started also were ejected.
“It was an unfortunate incident for all of the parties involved,” Tennessee State coach Hosea Lewis said. “Both teams just got excited (and came off the bench), and I am very unhappy with the way it was handled. I am disappointed in the outcome, because we have intelligent players and young men at TSU.”
Ford wasn’t happy with the decision to let the game resume with only four players on each side.
“I didn’t think that was legal,” he said.
Eastern sports information director Karl Park said videotape from the game was being sent to Ohio Valley Conference Acting Commissioner Ron English, who will review the footage and determine whether suspensions are warranted.”

Brawls have no place in sports at any level. Period. It’s just a game and its unfortunate that some athletes, coaches and fans for that matter can’t keep their emotions under control.

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