Tulsa has officially announced punishments for 13 players involved in the ugly brawl with Mississippi State following a 28-26 loss in the Armed Forces Bowl last month.
According to a release from the Hurricanes’ program on Friday morning, the involved players “will receive appropriate and varying disciplinary action administered jointly by (Tulsa University) and the conference.” These punishments will include reprimands, community service and game suspensions.
Obviously, the Tulsa athletic department condemned the actions that took place after the bowl game loss.
“We were extremely disappointed by the actions that followed the game,” interim athletic director Rick Dickson said a release. “The university expects all athletic teams to set an example for excellence in sportsmanship and exhibit Tulsa’s values, including integrity and respect.
“The behaviors witnessed after the bowl game do not reflect the (Tulsa University) values we seek to instill in future leaders. As an educational institution, we will take the opportunity to help all our student athletes, not just those being sanctioned, learn from this teachable moment and ensure it won’t happen again.”
— Kelly Hines (@KellyHinesTW) January 29, 2021
According to Friday’s release, Tulsa worked in conjunction with the American Athletic Conference to arrive at the appropriate punishments. A statement released by the AAC indicates the conference accepts the validity of the sanctions.
“While we remain disappointed that the actions of a few individuals overshadowed a competitive and entertaining bowl game, I would like to commend the University of Tulsa for its thorough and decisive action,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said. “We expect the highest degree of conduct and sportsmanship from our student-athletes and will continue to hold those who do not meet that standard accountable.”
Of course, a brawl implies there were two parties involved — and the Bulldogs were equally (if not more) at fault in the situation. In the midst of a flurry of punches and helmet swings, a Mississippi State player even kicked a player while he was on the ground.
While Tulsa has been proactive in taking responsibility, no punishments have been levied by Mississippi State or the SEC. Head coach Mike Leach was criticized for his postgame comments on the matter, only saying “don’t do it anymore.”
Since a statement was released by Mississippi athletic director John Cohen the following day, we haven’t heard anything from the Bulldogs’ program.
“While I’m proud of the representation of our football student-athletes in our previous 10 SEC games and applaud the effort of our team during the Armed Forces Bowl, I’m deeply concerned about the actions of some student-athletes,” Cohen said in the release. “No matter what led to the situation, fighting is inexcusable and does not represent Mississippi State University’s core values. Our administration and (head coach Mike) Leach are working diligently with the SEC office to review yesterday’s events and will address the situation in an appropriate manner.”
Maybe Tulsa’s punishments will put the pressure on Mississippi State to take their responsibility.