A collaborative investigation is continuing today to sort out the details of Saturday's brawl between players from South Carolina and Clemson.
Clemson, South Carolina and the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast conferences each spoke or released statements Sunday condemning the lengthy, and sometimes vicious, fight that took place Saturday in the fourth quarter of the Tigers' 29-7 win at Memorial Stadium.
"There is no place in intercollegiate athletics for this kind of conduct and no excuse for it, rivalries notwithstanding," said Mike Slive, the SEC's commissioner. "This conduct runs counter to everything we value in athletics and will not be tolerated."
Lou Holtz intimated on his TV show that suspensions were imminent, and expulsions from the team were possible. The conferences said to expect disciplinary action to be levied by this afternoon, pending the conclusion of the groups' investigation.
"For our players to run out onto the field like they did is devastating to not only me as a coach, but to the University of South Carolina and college football in general," Holtz said. "Repercussions will be significant and could range from suspensions to the most severe penalty you could think of."
Suspensions would most likely be handed out for the schools' bowl games, and it hasn't been ruled out that some of the players could face criminal charges.
Officials from Clemson and South Carolina both said Sunday that they are examining the possibility of skipping their bowls as punishment for the fight.
Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said the fight was overriding all thinking, including the bowl scenario.
The skirmish seems to have started when Gamecocks quarterback Syvelle Newton was pushed down by his face mask as he tried to get off the ground with 5:48 left in the game. Two Gamecocks linemen intervened, and shoving began.
The first visibly violent act on the tape is when South Carolina lineman Charles Silas ran up to Tigers linebacker Anthony Waters in the end zone and pushed him down.
Soon after, he was punched in the head by Tigers running back Duane Coleman, who was later hit ferociously by Gamecocks back Daccus Turman.
The aggressive activity really started before the game, when a few Gamecocks streamed over to disrupt Clemson's tradition of running down the Hill.
Some pushing started, but the sides were quickly dispersed. Gamecocks sophomore receiver Noah Whiteside, however, was seen on tape throwing a punch at a South Carolina official.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden and several others related the game's violent turn to a brawl between Detroit fans and the Indiana Pacers during a Friday night NBA game. Some even suggested it had a role in putting the players on edge.
"They sat there and watched that for 24 straight hours," Bowden said.
"In no way does it condone what happened. No way."
Reach Travis Haney at (706) 823-3304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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