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TSU athletic director calls fight at basketball game 'tremendous mistake'

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HOUSTON – Texas Southern University's athletic director, Charles McClelland, is calling a fight that broke out Saturday at a women's basketball game "a tremendous mistake."

Texas Southern  announced Monday night the women's basketball team will not participate in the upcoming Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament taking place this weekend at the Toyota Center.

In a statement, McClelland said, "After deliberate consultation and review with our conference office regarding the incident that transpired on March 7, 2015, we've come to the decision that our women's basketball team will not participate in the upcoming 2015 SWAC Women's Basketball Tournament, as we would not be able to successfully field a competitive team due to the number of suspensions that are set to be levied down."

McClelland went on to say, "In addition to the multi-game suspensions handed down from our league office, we will also be imposing some additional measures to ensure that our student-athletes fully understand the severity of what took place on Saturday."

TSU is requiring those students involved to attend conflict resolution counseling and do community service.

The players have also reached out to Southern University and apologized for the behavior.

New video, released by Southern, shows the fight from a different angle and what led up to it.  

It appears that a player from Southern University committed a charging foul that caused a player from TSU to fall. When the women stood up, the fight broke out.

Referees, coaching staff and others tried to break it up, but the fight lasted for about a minute.

The women's basketball team from Texas Southern University was playing Southern University from Louisiana for the Southwestern Athletic Conference women's basketball regular-season title when the bench-clearing fight broke out midway through the second half.

"Put a lot of energy into getting the women's basketball program where it's competing for championships, and it's just very sad and unfortunate that the incident occurred on Saturday night," said McClelland.

The incident was captured on cellphone video.

The footage shows players throwing punches and shoving each other.

McClelland says athletic employees rushed onto the court to break up the fight.

"These are 18- and 19-year-olds that made a tremendous mistake. We're not going to throw them out with the trash. We're going to make sure we rehabilitate them to get them to understand their actions were not appropriate for intercollegiate athletics," said McClelland.

The NCAA is reviewing the incident and the outcome of Saturday's game, said McClelland.