University of Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay was injured Sunday while attempting to break up a brawl in the stands immediately after the women’s basketball team’s 59-56 lost to West Virginia.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, The incident occurred during the finals of the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic. The paper cites sources claiming the skirmish was sparked by a Hawaii fan who tried to attack a West Virginia assistant coach as arena staff prepared for the trophy presentation on the court.
"He was heckling the whole game," West Virginia coach Mike Carey told the paper. "And people can do that, that’s no biggie. He came down from the stands trying to go after my assistant coach. That’s what happened. And then somebody grabbed him, stopped him and he kept trying to go, and people fell. That’s when all the commotion started."
In an effort to keep the melee from escalating, Jay jumped into the stands to intervene. Unfortunately, he became a victim instead, and was treated on the court for a reported 10 minutes after emerging from the fracas. Jay described his injuries to the Star-Advertiser as a "big bruise" and said back spasms left him immobile on the court, though he eventually left under his own power.
"He was either stomped, hit with a chair or punched," Hawaii coach Laura Beeman said. "He was in the middle of it, but he did a remarkable job of trying to break things up. People lost their minds. Talk about mob mentality. People were looking for a reason to fight and be ignorant. I hope Ben is OK, but he got hit really good."
In the video below, you can see the action, on the right side of the screen just behind the West Virginia bench:
This tweet from West Virginia radio host Jeff Culhane also shows some of the aftermath of the scuffle: