Mathis Odd Man Out?

CLEMSON – Three basketball players entered the day with their future at Clemson University hanging in the balance. Two went to sleep with a sense of relief, while the other was in a state of disbelief and shock.

Senior forward Sharrod Ford, freshman forward Cheyenne Moore and freshman guard Troy Mathis were each suspended from the university for one year by the Student Judicial Services Office for their involvement in a brawl that took place on Sept. 6, in front of McCabe Hall.

Each player appealed the ruling and on Tuesday, Clemson's vice president of student affairs Almeda Jacks overturned Ford's and Moore's suspension. However, Mathis' one-year suspension remains intact.

"Each case was decided on its own merits," said Clemson chief public affairs officer Cathy Sams, who would not refer specifically to the names of the students. "We think the sanctions were fair."

Delane Rosemond, Mathis' attorney, said the ruling was unfair to his client.

"There were other people out there in this fight," he said. "The punishment is so out of proportion with the alleged offense that it's not fair for Troy. He hasn't been convicted of anything."

Rosemond cited the fight football player Airese Currie was in over the summer in an NCAA sanctioned track event, where he was struck in the face with a bottle. Currie and his teammates received no punishment for the fight.

He also stated that there are other incidents that have occurred with athletes at Clemson that are far worse and that received a much lesser punishment.

"I just came here to get an education and play basketball for Coach Purnell," Mathis said is a released statement by his attorney. "I had committed to the University of Southern California; however, I felt that with this small community it was a better fit for me. I guess I was wrong."

Ford's mother, Wendy McDowell, confirmed Ford had been granted his appeal and that the family was just looking forward to putting it behind them. Ford's father, Victor Ford, told that his son is anxious for the basketball season to start.

"Sharrod is just looking forward to having a great season at Clemson," he said. "He's never been in trouble. He's a good kid. Sharrod is looking forward to being a leader and get the team to the postseason."

Attempts to reach Clemson basketball coach Oliver Purnell were unsuccessful.

Mathis has five days from Wednesday to inform the university that he plans his use his final appeal, which will be ruled upon by school president James Barker, Rosemond said.

According to Rosemond, the university is making a scapegoat out of Mathis. Rosemond also stated that a total of nine players from the basketball team were involved in the fight, which was against approximately 10 regular students.

Rosemond said the incident began at a dining hall during the day of Sept. 6, when the regular students and basketball players had a "verbal altercation" inside the dining facility. However, no punches were thrown.

Later that same day, roughly 20 regular students went over to the players' residence with sticks, bats and with one student possessing brass knuckles, and confronted Mathis and another player. But when Mathis called for the rest of the team and they showed up, the regular students left the grounds, Rosemond said.

According to Rosemond, later that evening, the players went to study hall, where they were told that the regular students were waiting for them and looking to finish the disagreement once and for all. Following study hall, an upperclassman led the players to the student union to try and "resolve" the matter.

The two groups met and pushing, wrestling and finally a fight ensued. Mathis was the only player charged with assault and battery, though all were involved in the fight, Rosemond said.

He believes there is an attempt to cover up the situation by the university so as to hide a bigger issue on campus.

"Unfortunately, there is a significant problem that the university does not want to address on campus between students and student-athletes, especially African-American students and African-American student athletes," Rosemond said in a release. "The university has known for years that this problem existed and they have failed to use all the available resources to combat this problem." Top Stories