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Jan. 30, 2004

The SEC office today announced that USC freshman Renaldo Balkman will be suspended for the Ole Miss game on Jan. 31 (see release below from the SEC office). The suspension is not due to an NCAA rule and therefore does not effect his NCAA status (if a player is ejected for fighting for two games, the player must forfeit the rest of the season).

Following is a statement from USC Head Coach Dave Odom:

“I appreciate Mike Slive as the SEC commissioner and his diligence in investigating an unfortunate incident. I have spoken to Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt head coach) twice on the phone since the incident and even though we don’t see eye to eye we both agree we won’t stand for it in our league or in college basketball. It was very clear the SEC Commissioner wanted the right thing for all parties and I support his decision. He was diligent and I have great respect for him. I support the SEC, his decision and I respect it. I will support it, but I did tell him I would state publicly I don’t agree with it.

“You can’t see on either of the tapes a blow landed by Renaldo Balkman. So why did he suspend him? At all costs the Commissioner tries to protect the head region and on the tape you can clearly see that as he is being pushed at a high rate of speed, and is turned in motion, you can see Renaldo falling . As he turns his right arm comes around near the head. You can’t see any contact with the hand but you can see the hand go up, but you can’t see contact. I feel the suspension was justified.”

“Renaldo not playing against Ole Miss will effect our game greatly. We will miss his energy, enthusiasm and his style of play.”

Coach Odom stated Renaldo Balkman would not be available to the media on Friday.



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Upon review of game tapes of the men’s basketball game between the University of South Carolina and Vanderbilt University, played in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2004, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive has announced that USC forward Renaldo Balkman has been suspended for the January 31 South Carolina at Ole Miss game. This action was the result of a flagrant, unsportsmanlike act which occurred during the first half of the USC-Vanderbilt game and is taken in accordance with Southeastern Conference Constitution, Article 4.4.3 (d).

As a result of the NCAA fighting rule, Vanderbilt guard/forward Corey Smith will be suspended for the Commodores’ Jan. 31 game at Kentucky for his actions in the incident. The rule calls for an automatic one-game suspension for a player ejected for fighting in a game for the first time in a season. Both players were ejected from the game for their roles in the incident.

In his post-game press conference following the game, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings made inappropriate remarks about the incident. Yesterday, Stallings issued the following statement in reference to his post-game comments:

“Last night after a difficult basketball game I made some remarks concerning an incident during the game that I regret and would like to clarify. While at no time will we accept cheap shots from the opponent, it was unsportsmanlike and unprofessional of me to condone or promote such tactics by our players. Fighting and unsportsmanlike behavior have no place in the great game of college basketball. I want our team to play the game as hard as possible but also expect they will play within the letter and spirit of the rules.”