The Great Lakes Valley Conference upheld harsher penalties on the Drury University women’s basketball team, despite the fact Drury’s player was attacked in the waning moments of the GLVC tournament championship game.
Drury will have two players who will have to miss an NCAA Tournament game while Mikayla Berry, the Bellarmine University player who committed an act against Drury’s Daejah Bernard that the GLVC violated their rules on “intimidating actions, fighting, attempts to injure, and any other malicious or violent conduct” will only have to miss three regular season games. Another Bellarmine player who left the bench, Katie Downey, is suspended for one regular season game next season.
Drury freshman Paige Robinson and Drury sophomore Emily Parker were ejected from the game after the assault on Bernard because they left the bench area. The GLVC cited a part of a rule on ejections, which state: “All game personnel (i.e. coaches, student-athletes, athletic trainers, managers, or any others associated with the institution or contest in an official capacity) who are ejected from a regular season or GLVC tournament contest, will be suspended from the team’s next contest.”
However, the GLVC also ruled that Drury sophomore guard Payton Richards also left the bench, but Richards was suspended for the team’s first regular season game next year and not the NCAA Tournament game, showing the GLVC could have equally suspended all players for regular season games next year.
The GLVC’s entire rule they are citing to suspend the Drury players, GLVC Handbook Section 19.F.6, also states the GLVC will not suspend any player who is ejected during “an NCAA Championship contest”, showing the GLVC treats NCAA tournament games differently than regular season and GLVC tournament games.
The GLVC’s Handbook Section 19.F.7, which addresses players leaving the bench area during a fight in a GLVC Championship event, does not note an NCAA tournament exception as does the rule the GLVC cited in their release regarding the ruling the players suspended for the NCAA tournament game. The players mentioned in connection with that section in the GLVC statement were suspended for a regular season game next season.
There is nothing in the GLVC statement to explain why they did not apply their rule evenly in giving all players involved regular season suspensions; why rule 19.F.6 was applied to some players and 19.F.7 applied to others who committed the same acts; nor did their statement show why they will suspend players for NCAA tournament games when they do not punish players suspended during the NCAA tournament for the exact same offense.
Also, the GLVC rules do not clearly state if “final contest” refers to any game played by the team or if the final contest refers to the final contest of the season under the direct jurisdiction of the GLVC; if they cannot suspend a player for actions in an NCAA tournament game it indicates the GLVC’s rules do not apply to NCAA tournament games.
Drury head coach Molly Miller issued the following statement to the press today:
“Together, with the support of our administration, athletic department, and the women’s basketball coaches and staff, Drury University has appealed to the GLVC commissioner to allow our entire team to compete in the first game of the Regional NCAA Division II tournament. We regret they have determined not to grant our request, and we will, of course, abide by their ruling.
The Drury Women’s Basketball team will continue to pride ourselves on combining sportsmanship with a competitive spirit, and a deep love for the game. We now joyfully look forward to the excitement of the postseason and our commitment to our university, and our fans, and to the greatest game ever to be played – the game of basketball.”