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Big 12 reprimands WVU basketball player, fines Texas Tech after court-storming incident

The Big 12 Conference reprimands a West Virginia University basketball player and fines Texas Tech $25,000 following a post-game incident between the two schools. (Courtesy of Steven Gutierrez)

The Big 12 Conference has issued a public reprimand of a West Virginia University basketball player following an incident with a fan and has fined Texas Tech $25,000 for its handling of the post-game situation when fans stormed the court.

In a news release on the Big 12’s website Monday, the conference announced it was reprimanding WVU player Wesley Harris for striking a court-storming fan.

“We must ensure that a safe environment is provided for players, coaches, game officials and fans,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “Although the post-game environment did not live up to our expectations, Mr. Harris intentionally striking a fan is contrary to the conference’s sportsmanship standards.”

Video posted online shows fans streaming onto the court and contact made with WVU players and the fans.

Harris’ action was in violation of the Big 12 Conference’s sportsmanship and ethical conduct rules, the conference said.

Meanwhile, the conference said it was fining Texas Tech for its handling of post-game protocol.

“We have a duty to provide a safe game environment. 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,” Bowlsby said.

Texas Tech fans descended on the court after their team upset the Mountaineers, 72-71 on Saturday, ending WVU’s 15 game win streak.

WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons issued a statement following the Big 12’s decision.

“I want to thank the Big 12 Conference and Texas Tech for the positive and open dialogue all three parties engaged in during the last two days,” Lyons said. “As I said before, this situation involved court security, player safety and postgame emotions and all three had to be taken into account. We will revisit with our student-athletes to again reinforce our expectations regarding sportsmanship issues across all sports. The Big 12 has issued its reprimand. We accept it, and I consider the matter closed.”

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