Intramural soccer gets too physical: In-game scuffle leads to campus police response

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A fight broke loose during an intramural playoff game Oct. 30, leaving questions about the school’s tolerance for fighting.

During the soccer game, two players exchanged unpleasantries before getting into a physical altercation. Some students felt the situation went too far before anyone took action.

Bri Trotter, a senior communication major from Ivins, attended the game to watch her brother and boyfriend play. Jamey Bacon was allegedly punched in the face during the match by another soccer player, Parnue Ali.

“Once he was punched, he fell onto his back,” Trotter said. “He fell like a tree. He blacked out for a few seconds but got back up. He has [previous] head injuries, so he was knocked out from the punch to the face.”

When students get involved in fights, it not only is emotional for them, but it also becomes emotional for the people around the exchange. David Howell, assistant director of intramurals, said in situations like that, it is best for the surrounding people to stay back and allow the officials and authorities do their job.

“We train our employees, and we train our officials to handle situations, and it is their job to break the situation up and handle it that way,” Howell said. “Once other people get involved, though, they are trying to help, [but] it can escalate a situation.”

Trotter said she was disappointed in the actions taken during the incident.

“We called the campus police,” Trotter said. “Nobody called 911, but they should have, especially since the campus police didn’t answer the first couple times.”

Once the campus police were contacted, it took longer than expected for them to arrive on the scene, she said.

However, Don Reid, head of campus security, said officers were at the Holland Centennial Commons at the time. He said they arrived minutes after the incident.

“[Ali] started walking off after the game,” Trotter said. “Then (the campus police) showed up. They were slow getting there. Luckily, we were able to pick him up at the edge of the field, though, so he didn’t get all the way home.”

Ali was then cited for physical conduct.

 “Normally, if we feel like the police need to get involved, or if people involved in the incident request the police to be involved, we oblige it in any way,” Howell said.

Howell said the referees did a good job helping control the situation by calling campus security during this event.

“Any time the refs feel like they can’t control the situation, they can call campus police,” Howell said. “[All of the employees] have their numbers programmed into their phones.” 

Howell said it is left to the judgment of campus security to make an arrest after a fight depending on each situation.

“[In intramurals], fights are not tolerated,” Howell said. “We do not tolerate getting physical beyond the normal physicality of games.”

He said in sports, tempers flare—it just depends on if the person will take action with his or her anger. He said the officials for intramurals at DSU are trained to see incidences arise.

“If they see it, they take precautions such as having people sit out for a while to calm down and relax,” Howell said.

He said in some incidences, there is no predicting—it can start in a second. 

“This is not something that we see a lot of,” Howell said.  “Typically the most we get is words said back-and-forth.”

He said the only time an actual fight breaks loose is when it is one of those incidences that come out of nowhere.

“That is what happened this last Wednesday,” Howell said. “It just kind of popped out of nowhere.”

Howell said even with this unique situation, intramurals are very safe and are supposed to be fun for all who participate.