Kirby Hocutt Responds to $25,000 Fine From the Big 12
If you missed Saturday's win for Texas Tech men's basketball and the subsequent court storming, then let me catch you up.
During the celebration for the win over West Virginia, Texas Tech fans poured onto the court at the United Supermarkets Arena to celebrate. While on the court, a fan and a West Virginia player were involved in an altercation. It was announced Sunday that the Big 12 was looking into the situation.
The verdict is in Monday, with Texas Tech being fined $25,000, and the player who struck a fan being issued a "public reprimand."
The fast pace to which the Big 12 handled the incident surprised some people, but with West Virginia playing tonight, that public reprimand couldn't have been postponed any longer.
The fine for Texas Tech is no surprise. The Big 12 implemented a rule in 2015 that limited on-court celebrations. According to Big12sports.com, the fine comes, "in accordance with the Big 12 Conference Principles and Standards of Sportsmanship" and is specifically for "handling of post-game protocol at the conclusion of the men’s basketball contest against West Virginia University on Saturday, January 13."
"We have a duty to provide a safe game environment," said Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "The Texas Tech Department of Athletics has a written event management policy which was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of the visiting team game participants. Although the Big 12 Conference does not currently have a policy prohibiting spectators from entering playing areas for post-game celebrations, it is of utmost importance that home game management provide adequate security measures for our student-athletes, coaches, game officials and spectators."
To clarify: The fine wasn't for the court rushing. It was because it was deemed that the West Virginia team and their players were not kept safe from the fan chaos.
There was also some thought that this West Virginia-Texas Tech scandal might take a back seat to the Big 12 handling the Baylor situation, which they still have not addressed. It would seem that the cover up of sexual assault and more wouldn't adhere to the Big 12's Principles and Standards of Sportsmanship.
Kirby Hocutt took the opportunity to thank the fans and accepted the university's role in Saturday's dust-up.
"This basketball season has brought us many thrills thanks in part to our great fans. Your passion is certainly noticed and felt at the game," Hocutt said. "We admittedly did fail to meet our expectations Saturday in efforts to secure the floor and allow West Virginia to exit without incident."
He continued: "We have the utmost confidence in our gameday operations staff, including police and security, to provide a safe environment for everyone at the United Supermarkets Arena. We have a plan to ensure the safety of the teams, officials, and fans. This plan has been executed many times in the past without any incidents. We will make the necessary adjustments to continue to ensure that all in attendance have an excellent experience at all of our events."
Hocutt finished his statement saying that Lubbock has great fans and that he wants to continue seeing them for the rest of the season.