Punishments Could Vary

Amazingly, some 24 hours after one of the darkest days in Clemson athletics history, Tigers football coach Tommy Bowden said he's yet to watch a replay of the ugly brawl that took place with South Carolina late in the fourth quarter Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Meanwhile, Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips said he has been in contact with Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford about the incident and that the school and league office will "jointly review" the incident.

As of Sunday evening, no punishment has been has been handed down, but Phillips said he expects there will be an announcement shortly.

"It's one of those things where it's on the front burner," he said. "We need to review it as quick as we can, because it's a national issue and of course it's a local issue, obviously. This is one of those issues you need to move in a very expedient way."

There are a myriad of consequences that could come as a result of the fight that halted the game more than nine minutes. Phillips wouldn't rule out possible suspensions and no postseason bowl appearance for the football team.

Bowden, however, believes his team should be allowed to go to a bowl if invited.

"I don't think that would be fair to the players," he said. "It's a serious nature and you don't condone it. But again, we don't have a track record of doing this. It's not something that happened two weeks ago. It's not something last year. It's not something that happened three years ago. It's not something that happened four years ago, five years ago, four games ago, three times in my career here.

"To act and cut off everybody's head over one sin wouldn't leave much leeway. … It'd send a message, but gosh, I'm sure they wouldn't fire y'all for every bad article or first bad article. We wouldn't have any sports writers."

Phillips also added that administrators will review the incidents with law enforcement. He wouldn't rule out possible arrests, either.

The type of punishment that is handed out may come partly due to the fact that it has become such a national story. It has been a hot topic on all major sports media outlets, especially because it comes on the heels of the horrific fight in the NBA Friday night.

And Phillips is certainly worried at how the university is and will be viewed.

"I'm very concerned because it's the wrong image of Clemson," he said. "It's the wrong image about what our football program is about. … That is a very significant concern to me. People on a national basis, they're not here. They don't understand why things happen the way they do. Those of us who are around in this area have a clear feel for that, but nationally they don't and it does create an issue of how people look at our university and athletic program."

Add Saturday's brawl to the fight involving the basketball team and regular students in September and the fight at the national track championships in Texas over the summer, and it seems as though there is starting to be a trend.

"I'm going to have to say that given the factors (of those three incidents), I don't like what has happened," Phillips said. "It does concern me. In each one of those situations you can look into it and see that there are factors where the guys that were involved weren't necessarily culpable, but, yet, they were involved.

"And somewhere along the way our guys have got to know that there's a time to walk away from things. Regardless of who started it, regardless of what brought it about, there's a time you walk away. And apparently we have some that, at this point and time, haven't learned that lesson. … They have got to learn that you've got to be smart and there's a time to walk away. …

"There's a point where it got started and at that point, our people don't need to be reacting to where the kids that are on the sideline feel like they've got to come out and be protective of a teammate."

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