Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Cincinnati and Xavier announced the suspensions of a combined eight players for their participation in Saturday’s bloody brawl at the conclusion of their men’s basketball game.
Cincinnati’s Yancy Gates, Octavius Ellis and Cheikh Mbodj will each be suspended for a total of six games — meaning they are out until the Jan. 4 Big East game against Notre Dame — and Ge’Lawn Guyn for one game.
The suspensions will take effect immediately and will be concurrent with the NCAA-standard one-game mandated suspensions that would be applied to Gates and Mbodj for ejections from the game for fighting.
For Xavier, freshman Dezmine Wells, who had a mandatory one game suspension for being ejected from the game for fighting, has been given an additional three games by Xavier and will serve a four-game suspension.
Sophomore Landen Amos will miss four games. junior Mark Lyons two and senior Tu Holloway one.
“After reviewing all available video and giving due deliberation to the seriousness of this behavior, we have decided to take these actions,” said UC athletic director Whit Babcock. “We want to deal with this in a prompt and direct manner and send the message that we will not tolerate this from those who have the privilege of representing the University of Cincinnati.
“We have advised the Big East Conference of our decision and the measures we’re taking. I’m thankful for the full support of (UC) President (Gregory H.) Williams and (UC men’s basketball head coach) Mick Cronin.
“Further, I want to apologize to our students, alumni, faculty and staff, as well as to our fans and community. We hold our student-athletes to a very high standard and take very seriously the role that our entire department plays in reflecting the overall image of this great university. We will continue to work diligently to represent the Bearcat family and the Cincinnati community in a first-class manner. There will be zero tolerance for a repeat of this behavior.”
Said Xavier AD Mike Bobinski: “I have been working closely with Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette McGlade and the A-10 staff since yesterday afternoon. We have all thoroughly reviewed the video evidence from a variety of sources. The Atlantic 10 fully supports our decisions on the suspensions announced today.
“We accept full responsibility for our part in the events that occurred at the end of our game yesterday. It was both embarrassing and disappointing and clearly did not reflect the standards of behavior we expect from our student-athletes. We resolve to do whatever is necessary to prevent an incident like this from occurring in the future. Additionally, we regret the poorly-chosen words our student-athletes used in the post-game press conference and have addressed the matter with them.”
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto issued this statement:
“The very unfortunate events that occurred in the final seconds of Saturday’s Cincinnati-Xavier basketball game have no place within intercollegiate athletics. The University of Cincinnati has responded with swift, expeditious and appropriate action, which The Big East Conference fully supports.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.