The Southwestern Athletic Conference reseeded its women’s basketball tournament Tuesday after Texas Southern withdrew a day earlier.
Texas Southern had eight players suspended for their role in a bench-clearing fight against Southern on Saturday. The Lady Tigers, who were the top-seed, withdrew because they wouldn’t have enough players to field a competitive team.
“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,” TSU Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr.
“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. With that being said, we’re not going to throw in the towel or give up on these young ladies,” McClelland said.
Southern is the new No. 1 seed and will face eighth-seeded Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday. The Jaguars had seven players initially suspended by the conference, but Cortnei Purnell and Kendra Coleman had their penalties rescinded on Tuesday “in light of additional video review by the Conference office.”
Third-seeded Alabama State will play No. 6 Grambling State. Fourth-seed Prairie View A&M faces No. 5 Alcorn.
The conference also ruled that the game, which was originally awarded as a win for Southern because the school was leading at the time of the incident, now counts as a loss for both teams. Texas Southern finished with a 16-2 conference record and Southern was 15-3.
“As an athletic program and more importantly as an institution of higher learning, it is our task to work with the student-athletes involved in the altercation by helping them learn and grow from this incident as individuals,” McClelland said. “We will mandate that they attend conflict resolution counseling, while also requiring them to perform community service hours.
“After speaking with the team they’ve all expressed a deep remorse for the actions that took place on March 7. They’ve sought to apologize to Texas Southern University President Dr. John Rudley, myself, their coaching staff and the entire Texas Southern Community as a whole for the various roles they played in the incident. At that time, I also shared with them that we will have a zero tolerance policy moving forward for such actions.”
Southern will still be missing Shaquandria Litmon, Jadea Brundidge, Jasmine Jefferson and Yasmine Nelson, who were each given one-game suspensions.
Keonia Parrish was given two games. She was dismissed from the Jaguars team on Monday. Southern also suspended Kenidi Robinson for the remainder of the season.
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