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An Eastern Illinois men’s basketball player will be disciplined “internally” after attempting to hit a fan during a game on Thursday, the school said in a statement Friday.
In the first half of the Panthers’ 80–67 loss to Lindenwood, star guard Kinyon Hodges walked away from the play to a fan sitting in the front row at Hyland Arena and swung at him. The fan and another individual sitting next to him quickly stood up and pointed at an official, who issued Hodges a technical foul but allowed the Panthers guard to remain in the game.
It’s unclear from video if Hodges made contact with the fan or what prompted the him to confront the person in the front row in the first place.
In the statement from Eastern Illinois, athletic director Tom Michel said that Hodges let his “emotions get the best of him” and that the program hoped to use the incident as “a learning moment.”
“We are aware of the incident that occurred during the first half of our men’s basketball game at Lindenwood [Thursday],” Michael said. "As an athletic department, Eastern Illinois prides itself on good sportsmanship. We do not condone this type of behavior by our men's basketball team or any of our 500 student-athletes.
“The issue has been addressed with both the player involved for EIU as well as the Ohio Valley Conference with any disciplinary action to be handled internally. The player in question understands that this is not the type of behavior displayed by our student-athletes or our men’s basketball program and in the heat of the moment let emotions get the best of him. This will be a learning moment moving forward and we apologize to anyone that may have been adversely impacted by the incident.”
Hodges, who is in his first year at Eastern Illinois after playing the last three seasons at Three Rivers junior college, averages a team-high 13.8 points per game for the Panthers. He scored just two points in 24 minutes in Thursday’s loss as the team dropped to 7–17 on the year.
“I spoke with the young man this morning and he is extremely sorry for his actions at [Thursday's] basketball game,” coach Marty Simmons said of Hodges in a statement. “This is not in the character of this young man. Even though he did not make physical contact with the fan, he understands the seriousness of this and regrets that his actions have negatively impacted the view of not only himself but the Eastern Illinois program.”