CINCINNATI - Reaction to the end of game brawl that broke out on the court of the annual Crosstown Shootout between Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati continues to be varied in the hours after the game at the Cintas Center was over.
However, both schools are taking tough official stands against the on court violence that broke out in the waning seconds of the popular basketball game.
On Sunday, Xavier University head basketball coach Chris Mack will hold a news conference to discuss the school's reaction to the brawl, and potentially punishments for some of the players that were involved in the fight. Time and place for the news conference is expected to be announced Sunday morning.
By late Saturday evening, Xavier University President Michael Graham, S.J., issued a statement about the brawl. It reads in part, "Xavier University takes very seriously the unsportsmanlike events which occurred at the close of today's Crosstown Shootout. This behavior was not representative of Xavier's standards and has no place in intercollegiate athletics." The statement continues,… "We are reviewing the incident in its entirety and, in conjunction with the Atlantic 10 Conference, will take appropriate action. We regret that this incident happened and apologize to our loyal fans, the Xavier family and the entire Cincinnati community."
Earlier in the evening, University of Cincinnati President Gregory Williams issued his school's statement on the basketball fight. It says, in part, "I'm extremely disappointed with what happened at the end of today's Crosstown Shootout. I am reviewing this situation with (athletic director) Whit Babcock and (UC men's basketball head coach) Mick Cronin and we are working to ensure this will never happen again. I appreciate Coach Cronin's strong post-game comments and I want to support his position that this behavior is not what we expect of representatives of the University of Cincinnati. We will thoroughly investigate this incident and will act swiftly and firmly. We hold our student-athletes to a high standard and this behavior will not be tolerated."
Shortly after the game ended, UC Basketball Coach Mick Cronin was emphatic and said that punishments might extend further than just game suspensions. Cronin says, "I've just told our guys, I will decide, after meeting with my athletic director and my president, I'm going to decide who's on the team going forward. That's what the University of Cincinnati is about."
Xavier University mens' basketball coach Chris Mack told reporters, "I told our guys exactly what I told you. I am a very honest coach. I was disappointed with how it(this game) ended. And I'll leave it at that."
On both campuses Saturday night, it seemed every student our reporters met had different opinions about the brawl after the Crosstown Shootout. UC student Malvo Patterson says, "You got to be better than that. And when I saw the incident, I couldn't believe my eyes. No one should go up here and intentionally hurt someone. You got to keep your head in the game and you got to keep playing."
Xavier University student Brogan Dewine says, "I think Yancy Gates is going to get suspended for sure because he punched someone. But otherwise, I don't know. Maybe suspend some players from both sides because it takes two to make a conflict."
UC student Steven Willis says, "You are here for education. You're now out 10 games. That's probably a minimum(suspension). But the maximum could be more. What does fighting like that really do? It doesn't solve anything."
Other students we spoke with who didn't want to speak on the record say they feel the fight was simply an outgrowth of the growing importance of the Xavier-UC rivalry over basketball. They say it shows feelings about this yearly game are almost on the same fever pitch as the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry in football. But some admit that the brawl on Saturday does indicate tensions are getting out of hand.