LAWRENCE, Kan. (KCTV/AP) — Kansas suspended forward Silvio De Sousa indefinitely Wednesday in the first punishment handed out by coach Bill Self following a melee near the end of the third-ranked Jayhawks' game against rival Kansas State.
On Wednesday afternoon, The Big 12 Conference announced that Kansas’ De Sousa will be suspended from 12 games and David McCormack will be suspended from two games.
Kansas State’s James Love, who was not suited up for the game, but was still in the middle of the fight, will be suspended from eight games and Antonio Gordon will be suspended from three games.
The Big 12 said in a statement, “Additionally, both programs were reprimanded for violations of the Big 12 Sportsmanship Policies as a result of players leaving the bench area during the incident.”
“This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated, and these suspensions reflect the severity of last evening’s events,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “I am appreciative of the cooperation of both institutions in resolving this matter.”
De Sousa was the main instigator on their side Tuesday night, getting stripped of the ball as he was dribbling out the final seconds of an 80-61 win. De Sousa recovered to block a layup attempt by the Wildcats' DaJuan Gordon, then stood over the freshman in a taunting manner, triggering both benches to empty in a scrum that spilled into a disabled seating section.
At one point, De Sousa was preparing to swing a stool when it was plucked from his hands, and several players from both teams threw wild punches while a sellout crowd in Allen Fieldhouse watched in shock.
“I have suspended Silvio De Sousa indefinitely pending the final outcome of the review by KU and the Big 12 Conference," Self said shortly after discussing the incident on the Big 12 teleconference. “As I said last night, we are disappointed in his actions and there is no place in the game for that behavior.”
The impact comes with the Jayhawks in particular looking ahead to a potentially deep run in the postseason.
“Obviously an unfortunate situation,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA vice president for men's basketball. “It's a conference game so it will be up to the Big 12 to determine what actions need to be taken. Other than that, it's too early to say how it might affect them (in the NCAA Tournament).”
Self said he spoke with a fan who was caught up in the melee, and that she was banged around “to the point where I'm sure we'll correspond with her today to see how she's feeling.”
“Obviously it's embarrassing,” Self said. “It's not something to be proud of.”
The University of Kansas sent a statement to KCTV5 News from Bill Self following the suspension of Silvio De Sousa and David McCormack.
“Chancellor Girod, Jeff Long and I fully support the decision by the Big 12 Conference and appreciate their commitment to working through this situation with us. Like I said last night, I am disappointed and embarrassed by what transpired because there is no place for that type of behavior in any competition. After meeting with my team and discussing the incident in detail, it is evident that everyone fully understands the magnitude of their actions and all are remorseful for what occurred. We represent the University of Kansas and will all learn from this experience moving forward.”
Silvio De Sousa posted his statement on his Twitter page apologizing for his actions.
I’m sorry for my actions last night, please read this: pic.twitter.com/cmkEO0I5Ax— Silvio De Sousa ™ (@SilvioDeSousa5) January 23, 2020
Kansas State also sent KCTV5 News a statement following the suspension of Love and Gordon.
"Kansas State's James Love and Antonio Gordon have been issued suspensions by the Big 12 Conference following their actions at the conclusion of Tuesday night's Sunflower Showdown men's basketball game, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced Wednesday.
Love has been suspended for eight games, which will begin once he is medically cleared for competition, while Gordon's suspension will be three games and begin immediately. Until each student-athlete has served their suspension, they are immediately prohibited from traveling with the team to away competition, participating in pregame activities, and being in the team's bench area. However, each student-athlete may continue to practice and receive related support incidental to their participation as a student-athlete.
Additionally, both programs were reprimanded for violations of the Big 12 Sportsmanship Policies as a result of players leaving the bench area during the incident.
"We do not condone this type of behavior in any circumstance and fully support Commissioner Bowlsby's decision on this matter," K-State Athletics Director Gene Taylor said. "There is no place for this type of conduct in the game of basketball, or any sport, and in particular this great rivalry. In addition, I would like to offer my appreciation to Jeff Long and the University of Kansas administration and event staff for their efforts in resolving the situation."
"I'm extremely disappointed in our team's actions in the aftermath of last night's game at Kansas," added Head Coach Bruce Weber. "They do not reflect what our program is about here at K-State. Our team will live with the consequences of those actions and move forward in a positive manner. Our focus going forward is to help our players learn from this situation and ensure that it never happens again."
Games between Kansas and Kansas State are always testy affairs, and for all but the final seconds their meeting at Allen Fieldhouse was rather subdued. The Jayhawks used a 19-2 run midway through the first half to seize control and the outcome was never in doubt the final 30 minutes.
The fight drew comparisons to the brawl between Cincinnati and Xavier in December 2011 that left players bloodied and college basketball fans aghast. Eight players wound up suspended for a total of 30 games.
Kansas State coach Bruce Weber told his players to allow the Jayhawks to dribble out the clock, and he was walking toward the scorer's table to shake hands with Self when the benches emptied. Both coaches eventually joined members of their staff, security officials and even Kansas cheerleaders in trying to separate the players.
“Very, very sad by the event that happened last night,” said Weber, adding the school would issue its own punishments soon. “It's sad and disappointing and you know, it leaves a bad picture for everybody. And I've been in this for a long time and you see it happen occasionally and you think you're not going too be part of it and obviously I was part of it — we were part of it — and its sad for college basketball, the game that I love and I've been part of basically all my life.”
The fracas continued a particularly difficult 12 months for Self and the Jayhawks, and De Sousa has played a big part in most of it. His name surfaced as part of the FBI probe into college basketball in October 2018, and that in part led to an NCAA investigation that resulted in a notice of allegations last September outlining major violations tied to recruiting in men's basketball. Those violations are being appealed and a decision is not expected until later this year.
De Sousa was initially suspended for two seasons for his role in the case — last season and this season — and the school spent significant resources appealing the punishment. It eventually was reduced, allowing the junior forward to play this season.