Conference suspends 15 players for brawl during hoop game
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Fifteen players have been suspended for their roles in a fight that broke out during a basketball game Saturday between Division II programs Lane College and LeMoyne-Owen.
The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which includes both schools, also announced Friday that it would fine the schools and their respective coaches an undisclosed amount.
Conference officials said three players who ''left the bench and were actively involved in the altercation'' face five-game suspensions. Two players ''directly involved in the incident'' received three-game suspensions. Ten more players who left the bench were suspended two games.
Memphis police are investigating the incident, which caused the game to be postponed. No arrests have been made.
Lane and LeMoyne-Owen will have the opportunity to stagger the suspensions according to a schedule approved by the league office to make sure that all the punishments aren't served at the same time.
''The behavior exhibited by our student athletes and those members of the audience who engaged in the conflict is unfortunate and unacceptable,'' LeMoyne-Owen College President Andrea Lewis Miller said in a statement. ''The college does not condone this behavior.''
The names of the suspended players weren't mentioned in the release announcing the punishments.
Video of the brawl that circulated on social media showed that it included fans who left the stands and went onto the court.
The SIAC also announced that any spectators identified by Memphis police or the two schools as ''active participants'' in the brawl will receive a ''lifetime ban'' from attendance at any SIAC competition or related event, regardless of sport.
''The interests of student-athlete and spectator safety and good sportsmanship during intercollegiate athletic events are sacrosanct and represent a core article of faith for our league,'' SIAC commissioner Gregory Moore said in a statement. ''The incident which unfolded Saturday evening not only was in direct contravention of these critically important interests, but in a larger and very real sense, these isolated incidents scar and victimize league stakeholders throughout the SIAC who work extremely hard to ensure that athletic events across all of our campuses remain safe places and spaces for all of our student-athletes and loyal fans.''
Lane officials didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
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