Photo by Gabi Campbell
Whatever caused jubilant Utah Valley fans and New Mexico State players to engage one another in a violent mixup following the Wolverines’ monumental win remains unknown.
Suspensions have been handed out to both parties and injuries have begun to heal, but multiple UVU students caught in the middle of the brawl said they didn’t even notice senior point guard Holton Hunsaker getting hit with the basketball by NMSU’s K.C. Ross-Miller as time expired.
UVU has asked students involved not to speak about the possible disciplinary actions until the process has concluded, but a source close to the ongoing discussions said that at least two students were suspended from attending one Western Athletic Conference basketball game.
The university released an official statement on March 4: “The University expects all students to conduct themselves responsibly and civilly. Violence of any kind is not acceptable and constitutes a violation of our student code.
Upon review of the Feb. 27 incident following the UVU/New Mexico State basketball game, Utah Valley University has taken appropriate action pursuant to the University’s Student Rights and Responsibilities Code.
UVU officials have notified the students involved and have initiated disciplinary action. The University does not disclose student disciplinary records in accordance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
As it always has been, safety at all university events remains a top priority. University and athletic officials continuously monitor game management and security procedures and will take the appropriate steps to “ensure the safety of all players, officials and fans.”
Kameron Dearing, a student who rushed the court said NMSU players mistakenly interpreted the celebrating fans’ actions initially. Once people started colliding and pushing one another, the subsequent physical interactions were out of self-defense.
Section 5.3.1 of the UVU Students Rights and Responsibilities Code states: “Failure to respect the right of every person to be secure from fear, threats, intimidation, harassment, hazing, and/or physical harm caused by the activities of groups or individuals.”
It does not specify any actions of self-defense as an exception, and it’s hard to argue that having the ability to cock one’s arm back to throw a blow constitutes as self-defense in this case, but the Dean of Students has the ultimate authority in the matter.
Sanctions are covered in the 5.12 of the code, where it says the criteria for determining consequences should be in accordance with: “(1) Educational value for the student found in violation of this policy; (2) Commensurability of the violation and the assigned sanction.”
Potential sanctions range from penalties as light as a warning to more serious possibilities such as expulsion, the withholding of a degree “until completion of process” and the loss of certain rights and privileges.
A CT scan revealed that Dearing suffered a concussion, according to the source and he had impaired hearing for four days after the brawl.
Renaldo Dixon of NMSU perhaps landed the hardest strike of all when he landed a vicious combination of his elbow and forearm to Dearing’s head.
The WAC suspended Dixon for one game and Ross-Miller for two.
For better or worse, the event drew national attention to UVU and a basketball program that is in position to at least qualify for the National Invitational Tournament with a win in its season finale.