Texas Tech Fined, WVU Player Reprimanded After Fans Storm Court
The Big 12 has fined Texas Tech $25,000 after fans stormed the court, making it difficult for West Virginia players to safely exit the arena.
The Big 12 has fined Texas Tech after fans swarmed the court on Saturday following a victory against West Virginia.
In a statement Monday, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Texas Tech did not ensure the safety and security of West Virginia players following the game at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbox, Texas.
West Virginia forward Wes Harris was also reprimanded for violating the league’s sportsmanship and ethical conduct rules after he punched a fan who ran into him on the court, reports ABC News.
Videos posted on social media show Harris and his teammates trying to reach the sidelines as Red Raider fans swarmed the court. Harris can be seen striking a fan who ran into him. Several security personnel members can also be seen on the court unsuccessfully attempting to control the rush.
Several other West Virginia players were also involved in altercation trying to protect another teammate from the crowd.
“We have a duty to provide a safe game environment,” said Bowlsby. “The Texas Tech Department of Athletics has a written event management policy, which was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of the visiting team game participants.”
Bowlsby also said that although the Big 12 does not have a policy that prohibits fans from going onto the court postgame, “it is of utmost importance that home game management provide adequate security measures for our student-athletes, coaches, game officials and spectators.”
In 2015, in an attempt to limit post-game celebrations, the Big 12 announced the addition of fines and possible loss of future home games for those who violate the rules, according to The Bleacher Report.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said the fans failed to meet expectations to allow West Virginia players to exit without incident. He also said the Red Raiders have a plan in place to do so and have successfully executed that plan in the past.
“We will make the necessary adjustments to continue to ensure that all in attendance have an excellent experience at all of our events.”
According to West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, WVU, the Big 12 and Texas Tech had a meeting with a “positive and open dialogue” regarding the incident.
“This situation involved court security, player safety and postgame emotions, and all three had to be taken into account,” Lyons wrote in a statement. “We will revisit with our student-athletes to again reinforce our expectations regarding sportsmanship issues across all sports. The Big 12 has issued its reprimand. We accept it, and I consider the matter closed.”
West Virginia was the No. 2 seed and Texas Tech was No. 8. It was Texas Tech’s first Top 10 matchup on its home court.
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