CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An assistant coach for the West Virginia University women's basketball team has been reprimanded by the Big 12 Conference for violating sportsmanship and ethical conduct rules.
Conference officials announced the public reprimand of coach Lester Rowe for his post-game conduct during a tournament that ended Sunday night at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
The University of Hawaii's athletic director was hurt in the scuffle that broke out following the WVU women's victory over his school's team in the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic tournament.
After WVU won the tournament with a 59-56 victory over Hawaii and awards were being prepared, a fight reportedly broke out behind the West Virginia bench. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the school official, Ben Jay, tried to intervene and was struck by either a person or an object, which resulted in back spasms.
Michelle Yu, spokesperson for the Honolulu Police Department, confirmed the incident to the Daily Mail on Monday.
"It appears a UH fan was heckling the visiting team," she said. "After the game, a scuffle ensued. The UH athletic director, and maybe a visitor from West Virginia, had minor injuries. The UH fan was not identified."
WVU's athletics department shared the details of the reprimand in an email Thursday.
"Coach Rowe violated Conference rules that prohibit coaches, student-athletes, athletic department staff and university personnel from committing abusive acts toward an opponent's fans," said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in the statement.
"Coaches have the responsibility to refrain from behavior that incites negative fan conduct. Coach Rowe is also put on notice that future incidents may result in a more serious penalty."
WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck on Monday had refrained on discussing the situation in Hawaii until he had gathered more facts. He also released a statement following the reprimand Thursday.
"The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics adheres to the policies and procedures of the Big 12 Conference. I respect Commissioner Bowlsby's decision to issue a reprimand of our assistant women's basketball coach, and any disciplinary measures will be handled internally," Luck said in a statement.
"It was an unfortunate situation that occurred on Sunday prior to the trophy ceremony at the conclusion of the tournament at the University of Hawaii. The incident has been reviewed by the appropriate individuals and I consider the matter closed."
According to the specific rule in the Big 12 Conference handbook, coaches, student-athletes, and members of the athletics department staff and spirit squads are not allowed to commit acts considered verbally or physically abusive toward game officials or an opponent's team members, coaching staff, personnel or fans.