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Author Topic: GSC Response  (Read 643 times)

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Offline R. A.™

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GSC Response
« on: September 19, 2007, 09:25:35 am »


Birmingham, AL— The Gulf South Conference has levied serious disciplinary penalties upon the head coaches of Henderson State University and Delta State University as a result of their actions that precipitated a post-game brawl on September 15, 2007.

These measures are the result of a conference call between GSC Commissioner Nate Salant, the CEOs of both institutions and their athletic directors. Both CEOs attended the game, insisted upon immediate and severe action and were united in affirming the penalties levied.

"One of the strengths of the GSC is presidential involvement, and this is further proof of it," Salant said. "Both presidents were in contact with me on Sunday and Monday and wanted a strong message sent to not only their own coaches, players and fans, but also to the world at large: we will not tolerate this kind of incident and will not accept any excuses for it."

The official statement follows:

“The Gulf South Conference has spent the past two days investigating the unfortunate and unacceptable events that took place after the Henderson State at Delta State football game.

It is quite clear that the post-game meeting between the two head coaches, which is usually just a congratulatory handshake and wishes for good luck, rapidly devolved into something unprofessional, confrontational and irresponsible that led to what has been described by eyewitnesses and the media as a brawl involving many players on both teams. There is no doubt that both head coaches lost control of themselves, and that their teams followed suit. There was no reason for this to happen after a hard-fought, well-played game, and no evidence that anything would have happened had the coaches not had the confrontation.

The Conference is disappointed and frustrated that we are unable to ferret out which players engage in the individual misconducts during that incident. We will continue to search for proof. If, at some future time, we do acquire video or photographic evidence proving misconduct by players, those players will also face very severe disciplinary action. Both institutions are hereby called upon to continue pursuing any leads concerning players who allegedly used helmets as weapons, kicked players who were already knocked to the ground or otherwise disgraced themselves, their families and their schools by misconduct.

The Conference is very concerned about the many reports of unsportsmanlike conduct, including, but not limited to: taunting, baiting and threatening; blocked ingress, egress and otherwise endless harassing of the visiting team's fans; allegations of multiple failures to control what was brought into the stadium by fans, many of whom participated in a nearby festival; and, otherwise very poor behavior by many individuals. Unfortunately, most of these events went unreported during the game but were exacerbated by the post-game events and subsequently reported. There is no doubt that the decision by the host institution to allow its own fans to sit on the visiting side---which is permitted under conference rules, provided those fans kept are outside the 25 yard lines (so that they are not directly behind the visiting team's bench area)---was a contributing factor, coupled with a failure to keep those home team fans outside the 25 yard lines. Most significantly, there is evidence of a failure to maintain a strong enough, and aggressive enough security presence in those stands. Gulf South Conference rules specify that the home institution is responsible for the conduct of the fans.

A conference call was conducted on Monday, September 17th, in which both Presidents, both athletic directors and the administrator in charge of security at Delta State participated. There was unanimous agreement that the penalties must be swift and severe. Both CEOs clearly endorsed the following steps and statements:

As a result of the above situations, and because the conference and the presidents of both institutions wish to send the strongest possible message that this behavior is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated, the following penalties are imposed:

1) Both head coaches are suspended for their next Saturday games (DSU @ OBU on 9/22; HSU @ UWG on 9/29). The suspension is a total prohibition of all contact with the team, its coaches and staff, beginning from the moment that the team leaves its campus to the point at which the team arrives back on campus, and includes cell phones, radio phones, and any other form of communication.

2) Both head coaches are placed on two years probation and are on notice that any incident, whether with another team's coach, players, fans or staff, or with an official or an employee of the conference office, shall result in very severe penalties.

3) All players from Henderson State are prohibited from attending the Delta State at Ouachita Baptist football game on September 22nd - the coaches are already prohibited from attending because of the conference rules that ban in-person scouting during the regular season.

4) Both head coaches are hereby publicly reprimanded for violating the Gulf South Conference Bylaws and Policies concerning Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

5) Delta State is instructed to implement specified changes to its home game security procedures and will no longer permit its fans to sit on the visiting team's side of the field unless the home side is filled to capacity. Delta State has already made a formal apology to the President of Henderson State and asked that this be communicated to all of the Henderson State fans who were offended; similarly, Henderson State's President acknowledges that some Henderson State fans also acted in an unsportsmanlike manner and are likewise reprimanded.

6) Both teams and all fans are reminded that if unsportsmanlike conduct occurs in the stands, it should be reported immediately, per conference rules. No one should be subjected to the level of abuse that allegedly occurred in the stands that day.


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