Police report filed on Fox
Appeal Sports Writer
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Nevada will find out today where it will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and it appears that successful third-year coach Mark Fox will get to be on the sidelines.
Fox, according to New Mexico State University campus police, had an altercation with the officiating crew after Friday’s 79-77 WAC semifinal loss to Utah State, which resulted in a police report being filed.
The incident happened when the teams and the officials were leaving the court, according to reports, and it was the second incident for Fox in a week. He had an on-court altercation with official Bob Staffen in the second half of Nevada’s 79-77 overtime loss at Utah State back on March 1.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said he is reviewing all the reports, but judging by the following comment, neither the school nor Fox will be penalized until next season.
“Whatever the outcome of the review, it will not have an effect on the University of Nevada’s participation in the NCAA Tournament, nor will it affect Mark Fox coaching in the NCAA Tournament,” Benson said.
Benson said the conditions at the end of the game were not ideal.
Utah State and Nevada were trying to leave the court, and New Mexico State and Boise State players were waiting to come on the floor. The officiating crew was separated in the tunnel. There was one official at the front of the pack, and the other two were being escorted off the court by New Mexico State university police officers.
When Benson was asked if Fox confronted the two officials at the end of the pack, he said that was accurate.
The police report was filed on Fox late Friday night, according to Stephen Lopez, deputy chief of the New Mexico State campus police department. Lopez said that his officers always must file a report when they become involved in the “incident.”
Lopez said an altercation doesn’t necessarily have to be physical for his officers to get involved, and he said his office was not going to investigate the incident further.
The police report won’t be finished until Monday, according to Lopez.
Under WAC bylaws, if a coach, player or school breaks the sportsmanship code, it can result in a public reprimand, private reprimand, suspension or fine.
Also, the school makes the penalty recommendation, if any, and Benson can either accept it, reject or add to it.
Benson said he’s reviewing all the reports, including the one the officiating crew filed.
Cary Groth, Nevada’s athletic director, said that the school is discussing possible action internally.
Groth didn’t witness the altercation on Friday, but did say that she talked to both Fox and Todd Renwick later that night.
“According to Todd (Renwick, University of Nevada police officer) and Mark, they were going through the tunnel and Mark made a comment to an official. As he (Fox) got closer, he said some things he shouldn’t have. Unfortunately there is a lot of emotion. I’ve seen it happen in our league more than once.
“Mark has talked to the team and told them what he did. He’s done what he needed to do. He apologized to the conference and to the officials (by e-mail). He’s been proactive.”
Benson confirmed that Fox had apologized to him, and that he had e-mailed Bobby Dibler, the WAC supervisor of officials, asking him to pass it on to the officiating crew.
It was Groth’s understanding that it was a verbal confrontation and not a physical one. Benson would neither confirm or deny the accuracy of Groth’s statements.
Groth was asked if she thought Fox’s earlier problem at Utah State might affect Benson’s decision.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “We haven’t been in this situation before. I think Karl will do what’s fair. He (Fox) has been a good ambassador for the conference.”
Benson said that Fox didn’t have any reprimands in his “folder.”