Eastern Michigan has “strongly” condemned the “completely unacceptable” actions of a player who sucker punched a South Alabama player in the back of the helmet, leading to a postgame brawl following the 68 Ventures Bowl on Saturday night.
A video of the incident on social media shows Eastern Michigan defensive back Korey Hernandez running across the field and punching South Alabama cornerback Jamarrien Burt in the back of the helmet while Burt was facing the stands for the school’s alma mater following the Jaguars’ 59-10 victory in Mobile, Alabama.
A skirmish broke out, players from both squads had to be separated, and the teams were sent to their locker rooms.
“We strongly condemn the actions of some of the student-athletes on the EMU football team in the ugly incident that took place following last night’s 68 Ventures Bowl. We are deeply upset and embarrassed by what happened,” Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee said in a statement Sunday. “Their conduct does not reflect the great pride and high standards we place on the game and our program, and the expectations for good sportsmanship and exemplary conduct of student-athletes on and off the field. What happened was completely unacceptable. We apologize to the Eastern Michigan University community and to the South Alabama team and their fans.”
Wetherbee said he and Eagles coach Chris Creighton have both apologized to South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann and coach Kane Wommack.
Wetherbee said he and Eastern Michigan president James Smith have been in contact with MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher and are “committed to working jointly to investigate the incident.”
Erdmann said in a statement that South Alabama was “grateful” to Eastern Michigan “for taking ownership of the incident” and reaching out to “apologize and ensure us they will fully investigate the matter.”