Monday, January 15, 2018

West Virginia forward Wesley Harris publicly reprimanded by Big 12

West Virginia forward Wesley Harris (21) sets up for a play in front of Marist forward Isaiah Lamb (4) and forward Aleksandar Dozic, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the AdvoCare Invitational tournament Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. West Virginia won 84-78.

West Virginia forward Wesley Harris (21) sets up for a play in front of Marist forward Isaiah Lamb (4) and forward Aleksandar Dozic, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the AdvoCare Invitational tournament Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. West Virginia won 84-78.


Morgantown, W.Va. — The Big 12 Conference on Monday announced a public reprimand of West Virginia forward Wesley Harris, who was involved in an altercation with a Texas Tech fan during a court-storming celebration last weekend in Lubbock, Texas, following the Red Raiders' victory over WVU.

Harris, who has started all 17 games for West Virginia this season, was shown via multiple camera angles to be hitting a Texas Tech fan with either his forearm or fist.

That inspired the reprimand from Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who said via press release: “We must ensure that a safe environment is provided for players, coaches, game officials and fans. 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.”

As of 2 p.m. Monday there had been no word of any kind of suspension for Harris. And with the Big 12 essentially handing down a slap on the wrist, any such suspension now would have to come from WVU and/or head basketball coach Bob Huggins.

Asked after the incident about Harris' status, WVU athletic director Shane Lyons said the school was waiting for the Big 12 to make a ruling before proceeding.

"It's part of their jurisdiction — conference sportsmanship issues, rushing the court and all that," Lyons said. "And we'll let them weigh in on it."

The Big 12 does not have a specific policy against court-storming, like the SEC, for example, but has taken steps in recent years to prevent incidents of this nature, dating back to a similar issue when a Kansas State student made contact with former Jayhawk Jamari Traylor during a K-State victory celebration in Manhattan.

Each school has its own policies and procedures for keeping order in instances such as these, and, in the eyes of the Big 12 — which appears clear on various video replays — Texas Tech did not do enough to control the scene.

To that end, TTU also was fined $25,000 by Bowlsby, who reserves the right to punish universities for incidents such as these as he sees fit.

“We have a duty to provide a safe game environment,” Bowlsby said in a separate release Monday. “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.”

No. 10 Kansas and No. 6 West Virginia will square off at 8 p.m. tonight on Big Monday on ESPN at WVU Coliseum.

Stay tuned to for more on Harris' status, should anything change.


John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

On the street this is assault and possible jail time. But on the court it’s just a slap on the wrist? And didn’t he punch the fan in the back of the head? So it’s not like it was self defense. Having said that court storming is a huge liability issue. The Big 12 needs to rectify this immediately.

Drew Doerfler 4 years, 8 months ago

the big 12 once again proves how inept it is.....really, a 'reprimand' for hitting a fan who barely and accidentally bumped into a player! so now any player who gets touched by an opposing fan base can just turn around and smack someone without any repercussions.......the big 12 offices continually prove they are in way over their heads and that they have absolutely no idea what the hell they are doing. There has to be some repercussions for hitting a fan...and that was absolutely 'not' in self defense and there was no way he felt threatened

Len Shaffer 4 years, 8 months ago

You're right on all of that, Drew, yet the problem wouldn't exist if schools (and their security details) would just do their damn jobs and prevent court storming from happening. Or if the Big XII just passed a rule against it with major repercussions if the rule were violated. If teams had to risk a huge fine (or something worse, like the loss of a scholarship for the next season) from these things, they would instantly stop happening.

Sooner or later, a player is going to get hurt from one of these events and it's going to have a major impact on a team's season. It boggles the mind that in 2018 they still haven't done enough to address the issue.

Craig Alexander 4 years, 8 months ago

Huggins wants his bonus evidently over handing out an appropriate punushment. Perhaps Big XII wants the title race to stay how it is....

Brad Farha 4 years, 8 months ago

In all fairness, he's always donated that bonus to charity. And I think they re-wrote his contact so that the bonus goes directly to charity now.

Joe Greenwell 4 years, 8 months ago

TTU should not be fined for anything! Staff in yellow vests were keeping the fans separated from the visiting players. It is obvious that this thug after being separated from the fans reversed direction passed beyond the staff and intentionally assaulted the fan. He should be suspended for multiple games.

Clara Westphal 4 years, 8 months ago

If fans storm the court, the home team should have to forfeit the game. I bet that would stop the storming.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh wow... I mean, that would do the trick tho!

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 8 months ago

No way will Huggins suspend Harris before tonight's game.

Craig Alexander 4 years, 8 months ago

If he is making the call then you are absolutely right. They will need to review the incident more before taking action.

DiscGolfer Jason 4 years, 8 months ago

How Self works, no way Garrett, Cunliffe and DeS get quality minutes. So many times Marcus G is in position to score and doesn't . That's on Self. We need all the scoring bench depth we can get. Play to win, not to lose. It realy is that simple.

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 8 months ago

Huggins will give him a one game sit, but sure won't be until tomorrow. And when is the league going to just flat outright ban storming the court? I get it, people are happy and excited, but always seems to be some kind of problem when this happens. Celebrate in your seat and jump up and down or step security wayyyyy the hell up

Ervin O'Neal 4 years, 8 months ago

The SEC fines a school $250K if the football field is rushed. And those visiting players are huge and wearing pads. $25K for storming a basketball court is a joke. That's about as effective as fining everyone $25 for speeding. If it cost a school $250K to storm the court, my guess is there would be a larger number of security personel on hand.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 8 months ago

The security was ushering the fans onto the court and right in front of the opposing bench. Not seeing that as crowd control.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 8 months ago

The big 12 powers that be are a joke......these are the same dumb💩s who took the money to not expand the big 12 with may end up being a deathnail in the conferences existance....grow a pair big 12 powers Or powerless is better.......

Tony Bandle 4 years, 8 months ago

The solution is actually quite simple. Any time the crowd storms the court, the home team automatically forfeits the game. This will have three effects:

1] All teams will do everything possible to control their crowds before, during and after the game to stop this action.

2] All home teams will provide maximum security at every game to insure this doesn't happen.

3] Also include the loss of a scholarship for the next season. That will get the head coaches involved as well.

Matt Lawson 4 years, 8 months ago

4) all away teams fans will start storming the court regardless just to get their team a win.

Scott Proch 4 years, 8 months ago

And we'd have ZERO road losses in the past 10 seasons!!

Art Jefferson 4 years, 8 months ago

Allow a delayed court storming (a minute or so) to allow teams to shake and exit the court.

Jacob Zutterman 4 years, 8 months ago

If Billy Preston misses a game for skipping class, but Harris doesn't for striking a fan, it truly shows the kind of person/coach Huggins is.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

When has Bob Huggins ever given two F's about the right things? It is said of him that only 30% of his players graduated from Cincinnati, and his players were constantly arrested for various criminal charges. No wonder UC President Nancy Zimpher forced him out.

DiscGolfer Jason 4 years, 8 months ago

As a KU alum, when has our university not been under the microscope since Brown? Get real man. Self has had many questionable players. Because he has not been busted doesn't make him godly. Cal hasn't while at UK. He may or may not.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

Even Bob Bowlsby is conspiring against KU to ensure the end of the conference streak.

Thomas Green 4 years, 8 months ago

Art has a good point. If you are going to allow this to occur, giving the opposing team time to shake hands and exit should be paramount.

That said, as far as court storming goes (not for it BTW), this was pretty tame! My personal opinion based on what I saw in the video is the player should be punished without delay. If the fan had called the authorities, it seems an arrest for battery could have been made. I understand these are kids and it was an emotional moment, but no one, including fans or players should be allowed to behave in such a fashion unchecked.

The Big 12 most certainly blew it with their response and I seriously doubt WVU will administer the appropriate form of punishment in this incident. BTW, I believe the appropriate punishment should be a minimum 3 games. Of course I have no confidence whatsoever that will actually happen!

Robert Brock 4 years, 8 months ago

Donald Trump: “Didn’t happen. There was no punch.”

Tom Cotton: “Yeah. What he say.”

Pete Rowland 4 years, 8 months ago

Big 12 (10) is a joke. Did conference officials even watch the video? Players had a clear corridor. player left the designated path and threw a sucker punch. And he is "reprimanded?" what does that even mean?

Eric TheCapn 4 years, 8 months ago

Please help me come up with a sign (to bring to the game WVU comes to Lawrence next month) that shames Harris', Huggins', and/or West Virginia's ethics. I'm working on my "lock him up" chant.

DiscGolfer Jason 4 years, 8 months ago

Have Hugs wear some funky suits fo' whites peep. O ly

Eric J. Baker 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree the WVU player should be suspended for this, but honestly I can't blame him. I'm guessing the TTU fan yelled something at him-- and knowing Lubbock, it was probably a racial slur-- and he didn't even seem surprised he got hit. I've seen way too many fans for my own teams saying things that should've gotten them at least punched in the face.

Furthermore, court storming is extremely dangerous and it endangers both teams and the officials.

In summary, the fan almost certainly had it coming, and probably only got a fraction of what he deserved.

Chad Dexter 4 years, 8 months ago

I disagree. Words are just words. In real life, if someone calls you something and you punch them, you can be charged with battery.

Eric J. Baker 4 years, 8 months ago

And in real life, if someone calls someone else a racial slur, they AT LEAST deserve to get punched in the face.

I DID say I thought the WVU player should probably be suspended, but the rhetoric I'm seeing from people here about what happened is concerning. Just because he deserves a suspension doesn't mean the TTU fan didn't deserve to get punched.

And just one more thing, the fact that the player didn't get suspended by his school tells me he was probably justified hitting the guy.

John Joseph Gorski 4 years, 8 months ago

From 2015

"The Big 12 announced on Wednesday that member schools will now be punishing member schools if they fail to prevent their students from storming the court or rushing the field. The league’s commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, is the man tasked with doling out those punishments, which will range from fines to potentially losing home games."

DiscGolfer Jason 4 years, 8 months ago

I don't zde it happening. None of see it. BB is a joke.

DiscGolfer Jason 4 years, 8 months ago

So, in other words, nothing happens. The sun rises, the moon sets. Next.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.