UIL administrators reported Monday that 15 bench-clearing brawls occurred at high school basketball games last season.
“We’ve never had such a rash of bench-clearing brawls like this,” UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt said, “and a few fans entered the fray — which really frightened us.”
Punishments for most of the fights were handled at the district executive committee level, one rung below the UIL state executive committee.
“The local DECs did a good job,” Breithaupt said. “We want to bring it to everyone’s attention that we can’t tolerate these incidents.”
The UIL received more than 1,000 incidents or reports last year where a coach, a player, or a fan acted inappropriately, Breithaupt said. There were also two bench-clearing incidents at junior high basketball games, he added.
Breithaupt revealed the numbers during the 85th annual Texas High School Coaches Association convention. He also could see the necessity of every high school bench-clearing incident going straight to the state level.
“We’re going to have that discussion,” he said. “People see video of that, and they send it around, but they never hear about the aftermath.”
Last February a key player on the Silsbee boys basketball team was suspended for the remainder of the season after video emerged showing him striking a player from Little Cypress-Mauriceville during a bench-clearing brawl.
The player apologized on Twitter, and Silsbee went on to win the Class 4A state championship.
The UIL state executive committee ruled on the Silsbee incident.
“They brought (Silsbee) in because this was late in the season,” Breithaupt said.
All late-season fights like this could prompt immediate UIL state action, he added.
“These would constitute an emergency hearing situation,” Breithaupt said. “We want to have it at the state level.
“I just think that bringing this kind of attention to it may stop it.”
Friday night live
Fox Sports Southwest will televise two UIL football games live on Sept. 1, the first Friday of the regular season. The UIL is allowing the one-time exception to a longstanding rule banning live telecasts of Friday night games. The games to be aired live are Class 3A Shallowater at Idalou at 6 p.m. and 6A Lake Travis at Converse Judson at 8:30 p.m.