Basketball players

Four Kent basketball players sanctioned after vulgar videos were broadcast

The Mid-American Conference disciplined four Kent State men’s basketball players hours before the team played the University of Akron in the MAC Tournament Championship game on Saturday night after a video with a racial epithet, foul language and taunts surfaced on social media.

The conference has suspended junior forward DJ Johnson indefinitely. Three other players, junior fullback Malique Jacobs, first-year forward Cli’Ron Hornbeak and first-year fullback Julius Rollins, will not play the first half of the final.

The biggest loss – at least for a half – comes from Jacobs’ missing time. In the MAC semi-final against Ohio on Friday night Jacobs led the Golden Flashes with 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Johnson and Hornbeak did not play in Friday’s game and Rollins is redshirted.

Johnson, a transfer from Rhode Island, was suspended from the team earlier this season, reportedly due to an incident in practice. He has only played two games since returning from suspension, scoring three points in five minutes of action.

What are MAC officials saying about the video?

“I am disappointed that this happened,” MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said in a prepared statement. “It does not represent the values ​​of Kent State or the Mid-American Conference. However, I commend Kent State leaders for being proactive in resolving this matter and working with my office to resolve this situation.

The move follows a statement from Kent State promising discipline.

“We are aware of a video posted by a member of the men’s basketball team. The behavior in the video does not reflect the core values ​​of Kent State, nor the standards we expect of our students -athletes,” the statement read in part.

Flashes head coach Rob Senderoff was reached Saturday afternoon, but would only refer to the statement released by Kent State.

University of Akron intercollegiate athletic director Charles Guthrie said he reached out to Kent State athletic director Randale Richmond.

“I had a great opportunity to communicate with athletic director Randale Richmond this morning, and he apologized on behalf of his university and athletic program to us and we accepted that and we’re moving forward. “, did he declare. “We take this as another time to grow. I will work with Randale to make sure this rivalry remains healthy, but with sportsmanship.”

Tensions between Akron and Kent State have been high this year

Tensions in rivalry games aren’t new, but this year they’ve escalated between UA and KSU. The Golden Flashes swept the regular season series, and after winning Game 2, which took place on the Akron field, Golden Flashes players and UA fans clashed verbally.

Jacobs and junior guard Sincere Carry, the 2021-22 MAC Player of the Year, did not start Kent State’s upcoming game against Toledo due to their respective roles in a postgame incident between the players of KSU and Akron fans.

Kent State and Akron will square off in the MAC Tournament Championship Game tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

Allen Moff of the Record-Courier contributed to this report.

Contact George M. Thomas at [email protected] or on Twitter @ByGeorgeThomas.