15 LeMoyne-Owen & Lane College Players Suspended Following Basketball Brawl

(SIAC NEWS RELEASE) - ATLANTA (January 20, 2017) – As a result of an internal conference investigation in connection with an altercation which occurred during the LeMoyne-Owen/Lane College men’s basketball game at Bruce Hall Gymnasium in Memphis, Tenn. last weekend, a total of 15 players from both teams will serve suspensions ranging from two to five games each – five games each for three student-athletes who left the bench and were actively involved in the altercation, three games each for two student-athletes directly involved in the incident, and a minimum two game suspension for 10 student-athletes who left the bench.
 
Although each institution will have the opportunity to stagger the service of student-athlete suspensions throughout the remainder of the season pursuant to a schedule approved by the conference office, any suspension which cannot be completed by the end of the regular season will served during the SIAC Championship Basketball Tournament.
 
Further, the SIAC will also impose institutional fines against LeMoyne-Owen and Lane and as well as individual fines against both schools’ respective head coaches of an undisclosed amount.
 
The league will recognize the game between LeMoyne-Owen and Lane on Jan. 14 as no contest.
 
Lastly, for those spectators who have been identified by the Memphis Police Department, LeMoyne-Owen, and Lane as active participants in the incident, the SIAC will be impose a lifetime ban from attendance at any SIAC competition or related event, regardless of sport. Moreover, we will actively work with the local law enforcement so that these individuals are also prosecuted to the fullest extent pursuant to prevailing state and local statues and ordinances.
 
“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.” said SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore. “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.  As a conference, we will continue to fiercely protect and advance these interests and maintain a zero tolerance policy for any conduct which falls short of the SIAC expectations regarding safety and good sportsmanship.

We appreciate the assistance and full cooperation which both institutions accorded to conference office during this investigation.”

The conference will have no further comments regarding this matter.

 

(LEMOYNE-OWEN COLLEGE RELEASE)

LeMoyne-Owen College enjoys a healthy rivalry with fellow HBCU Lane College of Jackson, Tennessee. During a much-anticipated game Saturday evening January 14 in Bruce/Johnson Hall, two players—one from Lane and one of our Magicians—allowed their tempers to flare during the heat of competition and a physical confrontation ensued. Regrettably, this confrontation immediately escalated and sparked members of the audience to move onto the court and engage in the conflict.

“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 Dr. Andrea Lewis Miller stated.

“The College does not condone this behavior. We hold all LeMoyne-Owen College students, including our athletes, to a higher code of conduct and our athletes are expected to exhibit the highest standards of sportsmanship on and off the court or field of play,” she added.

College officials have investigated the incident and have fully cooperated with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SIAC), Lane College and Memphis Police Department investigations to ensure appropriate disciplinary action is levied on those persons who engaged in the conflict.

The LeMoyne-Owen College athletics department was notified earlier this afternoon of the SIAC’s ruling and will fully comply with the penalties levied. “The punishment handed down by the SIAC is in accordance with the values we hold at LeMoyne-Owen College and reflects our stance regarding our players’ inappropriate behavior during the contest,” Magicians Head Coach William Anderson said. “We expect more from our athletes and will not accept this type of behavior,” he added. “Of the 15 players suspended, seven were our players and we will ensure they serve their suspensions according to the SIAC’s guidelines.”

The College also has identified the individual who assaulted the Lane player with a chair, has submitted this information to Lane College officials and the Memphis Police Department (MPD), and is cooperating fully with the MPD’s ongoing investigation. LeMoyne-Owen College has issued a lifetime ban regarding this individual attending College events and activities, as has the SIAC, and will pursue any charges available under the law to ensure this person is punished for his behavior. “We want our fans and visitors to enjoy the spirit of competition in a safe environment,” President Miller said. “Safety is our top priority and we will not tolerate behavior that endangers students, faculty, staff, visitors or competitors who visit our campus.”

College officials will take additional steps to ensure spectators enjoy a safe environment at LOC sporting events. Eight security personnel are present at all games. This number has been increased to ten and special care will be taken to protect the court. “Our gymnasium allows spectators to have a very intimate experience as those sitting courtside are just a few feet from the field of play,” Coach William Anderson said. “We will have additional security personnel on site during the games to ensure the fans enjoy the game from the stands and that the players are secure whenever and wherever they move about in the venue.”

President Miller also is working with Lane President Dr. Logan Hampton to ensure the rivalry between their respective institutions remains healthy. “We hold our HBCU athletics traditions dear,” Miller said. “I want this incident to serve as a teachable moment that will grow into interaction off the court that fosters unity between the colleges’ students, student athletes and the respective communities in which we reside, learn and serve.”

Details of the unifying activities that are planned will be shared at the LOC vs. Lane basketball game Feb. 11 at J.F. Lane Gymnasium in Jackson, Tennessee.


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