During the Tuesday, Nov. 20, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southern Illinois University Carbondale game, a loose ball scramble resulted in a wrestling tussle among three basketball players.
The loss of emotional control by two SIUE players, a starter and backup, resulted in both being ejected by game officials for flagrant fouls.
The game officials, supervisor of officials, and both conference commissioners (Ohio Valley Conference and Missouri Valley Conference) determined the incident a non-fight and minor altercation as no punches were thrown. If it had been defined as a fight, the players would have been suspended for a game and subject to additional conference sanctions.
Even though there are no additional penalties, suspensions or sanctions required by NCAA or Conference rules, given the leadership expectations of SIUE student-athletes, SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe, Athletic Director Brad Hewitt, and Coach Lennox Forrester have decided to suspend both players for tomorrow night's contest as an additional consequence.
"Our players' reactions and lack of composure are not representative of our departments' or SIUE's values and culture and will never be acceptable or justifiable behavior," Hewitt said.
Additionally, four other Cougars were ejected from the game for stepping onto the court but not given a foul or indicated as participants.
"Regardless of any intention to de-escalate the altercation on the court it was poor judgment, and it required ejection by NCAA rule," Hewitt said. "These players did not engage in the altercation and will receive team discipline in addition to their ejection from the game."
The mission of the SIUE Intercollegiate Athletics program is to provide students with opportunities to enhance their education, to represent the University and to participate in competitive sports while developing skills and understanding. Part of this understanding is to address teachable moments and to turn poor decision making into learning experiences that prepare these young people to make the right decisions and fewer mistakes in the remainder of their lives.
"This incident is a significant learning experience for several members of our men's basketball team," Hewitt said. "We will continue to compete against SIUC in every sport just as we have for the past four years. We are looking forward to future contests."