LOGAN – As Utah State Aggie fans and players celebrated on the Spectrum court following USU’s defeat of then-ranked #12 Nevada, Wolfpack players were upset and filled with rage in the tunnels below the stands. Nevada Senior Jordan Caroline was captured on video trying to get back onto the court and had to be restrained by other players and coaches. Caroline punched a glass and metal box containing a fire extinguisher, breaking the glass and injuring his hand.
Some national pundits speculated throughout the weekend that USU’s game management personnel may be to blame for not properly handling the students who stormed the court following the victory. On Monday, the Mountain West Conference and USU release statements about the incident and debunked that theory.
“After a thorough investigation into the circumstances of Saturday night’s incident, which included a review of numerous video clips from various sources and the collection of written statements from multiple individuals, the Mountain West has concluded the situation was not caused by the court rush,” the statement from the Mountain West states. “There was a postgame management plan in place and it was executed successfully.”
There did to appear to be words exchanged by assistant coaches in the handshake line following the game as Nevada was trying to leave the court.
“Inappropriate conduct by individuals from both programs in the postgame handshake line and subsequently in the locker room areas created the unfortunate circumstances. The Conference office has had multiple communications with both athletics directors and has shared the findings of its review. Each institution will be responsible for the determination and administration of what it deems appropriate disciplinary action for those involved. It must be made clear unsportsmanlike and unprofessional conduct is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Immediately following the Mountain West statement, USU Director of Athletics John Hartwell released his own statement about what followed the final buzzer Saturday night.
“After reviewing all the evidence, from surveillance video to eyewitness accounts, the incident was not a game management issue and was not caused by our students rushing the court. The unsportsmanlike behavior following the game did not include any of our student-athletes, but rather a couple of staff members, which is unacceptable, and we will handle those issues internally. Moving forward, Utah State Athletics will review our game management procedures in an effort to continually learn and improve.”
Later in the day the University of Nevada released their own statement about the postgame incident.
“Our department is thankful for the diligence of the Mountain West Conference, and Utah State’s athletics administration, in their review of the events from Saturday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan,” the Nevada statement states. “We accept the review of the Mountain West and we will handle this matter internally. All parties involved can learn from this incident, and we will. The Mountain West believes in the highest ideals of sportsmanship and good behavior, and we will address this with members of our program who fell short of these ideals on Saturday night.
“We will pay restitution to Utah State University for any property damages incurred during the incident. As we learn from this, it’s time for all parties to move forward. We are eager to put this incident behind us and prepare for the final week of the regular season and the Mountain West Championships. Additionally, there was a great amount of misinformation in some media reports, including an unfortunate misidentification of other Nevada staff members as head coach Eric Musselman. We’re appreciative of those media outlets and the wire services that have since corrected this information.”
The Mountain West did not suspend Caroline and neither will Nevada. According to multiple media reports, it appears Caroline may not play at Nevada because he injured his hand when punching the fire extinguisher box.