Eastern Michigan University (EMU) athletic director Scott Wetherbee apologized to University of South Alabama coaches, players, and fans on Sunday after an EMU player sucker punched a South Alabama player following the 68 Ventures Bowl in Mobile.
South Alabama handily defeated EMU 59-10, but most of the focus centered around what happened post-game when a brawl ensued after an EMU player punched a South Alabama player.
"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. 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 on Sunday. "I have been in contact with South Alabama Director of Athletics Joel Erdmann to express our sincere apologies and Coach Creighton has done the same with Coach Wommack. We are committed to sharing information and video to fully understand all that occurred. As Coach Creighton stated in the postgame press conference, there is absolutely no place for this kind of incident in the Eastern Michigan University football program. University President James Smith and I have been in contact with Mid-American Conference Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher and we are committed to working jointly to investigate the incident in accordance with institutional and Conference policies. We are continuing to review the situation and the conduct of the student-athletes involved and will take appropriate action as more information is gathered."
South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann said, "We hope this situation will not take away from the fact that the Jaguars are 68 Ventures Bowl Champions."
"I would like to extend my most sincere appreciation and gratitude to Jerry Silverstein and the City of Mobile for inviting us to participate in the 2023 68 Ventures Bowl," Erdmann said. "Our student-athletes and coaches enjoyed a first-class experience, and we are proud of them for winning the first bowl championship in school history in front of our loyal fans and community. It is an achievement that will not soon be forgotten. While we are disappointed in the incident that occurred following our team's victory, we are grateful to the leadership at Eastern Michigan University for taking ownership of the incident and reaching out to our leadership here at South Alabama to apologize and ensure us they will fully investigate the matter. We do not believe this incident is in any way reflective of the values of Eastern Michigan University or its football program."
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