AD Dooley calls for safety meeting

A Florida basketball player and trainer filed an incident report Wednesday with the University Police that claims disorderly conduct after fans stormed the court following Georgia's victory over Florida.

The report claimed Florida players and staff "received unwanted physical contact as they tried to exit the crowd" late Tuesday evening.

"It's premature to make any conclusions," said Jimmy Williamson, the assistant University Police chief. "We're still trying to determine from everybody that complained what transpired."

Fans have rushed the Stegeman Coliseum court twice in one week, prompting "serious concerns" from Athletic Director Vince Dooley.

"Despite some extenuating circumstances surrounding the issue, there is no question we can and will do a better job of avoiding these types of problems in the future," Dooley said in a written statement Wednesday.

On the academic front, the Student Judiciary decided in August 2002 to allow sanctions for unruly sports fans that "could impose restrictions on the purchase of tickets for future games," Dean of Students Rodney Bennett had told The Red & Black.

Jim Bove, assistant dean of judicial programs, said the Student Judiciary had yet to receive any complaints regarding Tuesday night's incident.

To deter fans from storming the court, Dooley suggested "it would be in the best interest of the (SEC) for all event managers and athletic directors to have a thorough discussion of the sportsmanship/safety issues, especially in regard to basketball."

Florida officials specifically cited the lack of security after the game.

"Somebody was going after (Florida sophomore guard) Matt Walsh, and I was trying to stop him," Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the game. "Fans running on the floor, they do it every time, and the league doesn't care. Sooner or later, somebody's going to get hurt."

The details of the altercation that ensued on the court are still under review, but Mike Walsh, the father of Florida player Matt Walsh, claimed a student wearing "a red shirt" had punched his son in the face.

"I just want to find the bitch that punched my son," Walsh's father said at the game Tuesday. "When I find out who it is, the police won't need to get involved -- I'll get involved. He will never, ever punch somebody again if I get him."

Matt Walsh, however, could not confirm his father's story before he got on the team bus Tuesday after the game.

"I got hit," said the younger Walsh. "When you're going through that, you're just trying to get off the court so I don't know exactly what happened. I got spun around."

University Police Chief Chuck Horton said he did not "condone contact, but I don't think it was an intentional act."

Regardless, he said fans didn't act in an appropriate manner.

"Fans need to stay put," Horton said. "We've got a game Saturday and I hope folks will stay put."

-- Contributing: Purvi Patel

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