Clemson basketball coach Oliver Purnell and player Sharrod Ford and Cheyenne Moore met with the media Wednesday evening on the heels of CUTigers.com and the Charleston Post & Courier reporting that the two players had been suspended from school for one year following a fight they and other members of the basketball team were involved in, but that they were reinstated by Clemson's vice president of student affairs Almeda Jacks on Tuesday following an appeal.
However, freshman basketball player Troy Mathis' one-year suspension remains intact. Mathis' attorney, Delane Rosemond, said Tuesday night that his client plans to appeal the decision, which will be ruled on by university president James Barker. Mathis has five days from Wednesday to inform the school of his plans to appeal.
"Obviously, I wish certain things would not have occurred and I really can't control that," Purnell said. "The university is handling it and obviously I'm a part of the university. We've got some ongoing parts of this situation which are being handled and we're awaiting the findings of that."
Purnell would not say whether or not Ford, a senior, and Moore, a freshman, had initially been suspended from the school and reinstated. He cited legal confidentiality issues for his reason.
Ford and Moore refused to speak or even acknowledge anything having to deal with the fight with a handful of other students on Sept. 6.
"You just come out every day and just play like you're supposed to play," Moore said. "You've just got to go out and have fun and not worry about that type of stuff."
Purnell wouldn't say directly whether or not any punishment had been handed down by him to Moore, Ford and the other players in the fight.
"We're always going to have discipline in our program," he said. "Anytime a young man in our program is not doing what we want him to do or is doing something that we're not happy with, we're going to have discipline."
One aspect of the incident Purnell did comment on concerned Rosemond's assertion that there was an ongoing black-on-black violence problem at Clemson, especially between the athletes and regular students.
"I've worked at four other institutions and am familiar with other institutions and we have issues at Clemson like most others do," he said. "I don't think the issues we have at Clemson are unique at all. It's not a perfect place, but it's a very good place.
"Do we have issues here at Clemson that we need to address and need to get better? Sure we do. But every university I've ever been at has issues that need to get better. Anytime you have young student-athletes from different backgrounds or different organizations, whether it be athletics or fraternities, you're going to have some issues sometimes."
Purnell added that the biggest way to combat any problems is for everybody from the student to the faculty to the administration to openly communicate.
As far as the team is concerned, Purnell said all players, including Mathis, did and continue to practice every day. He said nothing will change that until he's told otherwise.
"We're doing our best not to be distracted by it," he said. "It's hard to tell whether it's been a major distraction or not. I would say it's been a minor distraction. But I wouldn't say it's been a major distraction."
Junior center Steve Allen sustained another separation of his shoulder, but it's the opposite one that he separated and had surgery on last season. Also, senior forward Olu Babalola has a severe sprained ankle, which is the same on he injured last year. There were breaks, but an MRI was performed Wednesday to determine if there was any other damage.
Also, freshman forward James Mays has a sprained ankle and sophomore guard Vernon Hamilton has a hip pointer and is out is out indefinitely.
"We're kind of holding our breath on Steve and Olu," Purnell said.
Press Conference Reveals Little
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