Five women’s basketball players from Texas Southern University were suspended Wednesday after an on-court altercation, according to the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The suspension is in response to a fight that broke out between Texas Southern and Alabama State University women’s basketball teams after a game Monday in Montgomery, Alabama. TSU defeated Alabama State, 81-54.
SWAC concluded that 10 student-athletes and two managers involved in the altercation violated conference policy, Section III, Article 12, Item 3 (Acts of Unsportsmanlike Conduct and Penalties) of the SWAC Constitution, Bylaws and Sports Regulations.
Officials are penalizing TSU student-athletes Ciani Cryor, Britnee Gabriel, Jekalen Jones, Niya Mitchell, and Tamaria White for their part in the brawl.
Five student-athletes from Alabama State and two managers were also penalized. Players Taylor Aikerson, Kaeani Berry, Zomoria Clark, Dereseia Randle and Aniyah Smith, along with managers Logan Young and Jervon Mannery-Gaither, were suspended.
Texas Southern University players Cryor and Gabriel have been suspended for the Lady Tigers’ next game Feb. 8 at Prairie View A&M. While the other three players Jones, Mitchell and White have been suspended for the Lady Tigers’ next two games Feb. 8 and Feb. 15 vs. Jackson State.
Alabama State University student-athletes Aikerson and Randle have been suspended for the Lady Hornets’ next game Feb. 8 at Mississippi Valley State. While the other three players Berry, Clark and Smith have been suspended for the Lady Hornets’ next two games Feb. 8 and Feb. 10 at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Alabama manager Young has been suspended for the Lady Hornets’ next two games. Manager Mannery-Gaither has been suspended indefinitely pending further investigation.
This is not the first brawl for Texas Southern.
In 2015, the women’s team had to forfeit the SWAC tournament due to an in-game fight against Southern University. The team couldn’t “field a competitive team due to the number of suspensions that are set to be levied down,” KPRC 2 previously reported.
In total, 15 student-athletes from both teams were suspended, according to USA Today.
Here is the initial statement from Kevin Granger, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics at Texas Southern University:
We are deeply disappointed by the events which took place at the conclusion of Monday night’s game. The incident has overshadowed the efforts of our team’s success on the court as this directly counters the expectations of sportsmanship which has been placed upon our student-athletes by Texas Southern and the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The SWAC and both universities are actively reviewing the events which took place last night in order to bring closure to this unfortunate incident.
Here are statements from regarding suspensions from Granger:
The Texas Southern University Department of Athletics respects the decision by the Southwestern Athletic Conference regarding Monday’s unfortunate incident. In addition to the SWAC’s policies, what took place on Monday is a direct violation of our department’s policies in regards to sportsmanship and ethical behavior that we expect our student-athletes to adhere to at all times. While the timing of the suspensions is unfortunate, our student-athletes will take ownership of their decisions and the department will assist them going forward to ensure they understand the magnitude of this situation and how it reflects on Texas Southern University in general.
Here are statements from regarding suspensions from head women’s basketball coach Cynthia-Cooper Dyke:
I was shocked and I am saddened by the altercation that occurred after the Alabama State women’s basketball game. This is not how we want to represent our program, university, conference or women’s basketball. We accept responsibility for our actions and whatever penalties are levied by the conference office. Additionally, we will have a series of ‘conflict resolution’ counseling sessions for our student-athletes to better equip them to handle hostile environments.