INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – In the wake of the Miami-FIU brawl, the NCAA says it would consider helping schools and conferences develop a standard policy to curb on-field violence.

Restricting post-game celebrations, such as planting school flags on an opponent’s field, and how to deal with players who fight, were some of the suggestions, Ron Stratten, the NCAA’s vice president of education services, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

“We’re going to take a look at all of that, and, hopefully, work with the conferences to manage the regular season,” said Stratten, who also serves as a liaison to the NCAA’s committee on sportsmanship and ethical conduct. “The committee is going to take a look at whether the NCAA can take action to assist them.”

The NCAA still wants universities and conferences to determine appropriate sanctions for player misconduct, but last weekend’s brawl at the Orange Bowl has the NCAA willing to get more involved with schools and leagues.

“The NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference have principles of sportsmanship to which the University of Miami is committed,” Miami athletic director Paul Dee said. “It is important for us to use opportunities such as these to re-emphasize this commitment to sportsmanship.”

The melee during Saturday’s game between Miami and Florida International included one Miami player swinging his helmet as a weapon and another stomping on opponents. An FIU player also kicked a Hurricanes player in the head.

On Monday, suspensions for some of the 31 sanctioned players were modified. FIU kicked two players – Chris Smith and Marshall McDuffie Jr. – off the team and 16 others will serve indefinite suspensions after originally being told they would miss one game.

Miami safety Anthony Reddick, who swung his helmet at other players, also had his one-game suspension increased to an indefinite one. Twelve other Hurricanes will sit out Saturday’s game at Duke and will be required to perform community service.

Stratten applauded the final judgment.

“We are in a place where if nothing is taking place, we want to know why?” Stratten said. “I think what they did, by initially imposing the minimal penalties and then strengthening them, I think the final thing is probably appropriate because they’re the ones that have to live with it in their own communities.”

The Miami brawl wasn’t the only one last weekend.

After Holy Cross beat Dartmouth 24-21 in overtime, Holy Cross players celebrated atop the Dartmouth “D” painted on the field. That caused fists to fly, and college and police officials have said some players could face punishments or arrests.

Those incidents follow another in the NFL, in which Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth drew a five-game suspension for stomping on the face of Dallas center Andre Gurode.

At past NCAA conventions, some experts have noted professional players often become role models for sportsmanship among players from the college level to the youth ranks, and NFL coaches such as Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis criticized Haynesworth’s actions as something nobody should see.

But Stratten thinks what occurred last weekend was more the result of culture than trend.

“I think it’s more in how they look at power and intimidation, and a lot of young people look at that as a physical thing,” Stratten said. “You see that from guys who grow up in that kind of environment.”

In response to previous concerns, the NCAA has offered sportsmanship seminars at its annual convention, urged schools to adopt standards regarding fan behavior, and provided leadership conferences for nearly 3,000 student-athletes.

Stratten said some schools, such as Ohio State, even educated fans on their expected behavior at games. Stratten believes that led to a decrease in fan incidents, which the NCAA considered its toughest behavioral issue just three years ago after a spate of incidents broke out during Rivalry Week around Thanksgiving.

The next step, Stratten believes, is that the NCAA take a more proactive approach with athletes, coaches and officials.

“At Miami, you had someone gesturing to the crowd after scoring a touchdown and taunting, and the official might have thought that stopped when he threw a flag,” Stratten said. “But on the next play, there was retaliation for that. I think we have to do some things to let people know about the culture itself, and many coaches and officials don’t understand that.”

So the NCAA is prepared to lend a hand.

“What kids need to know is, ‘How do I show and vent my frustration, and are the consequences clear to me, and are those kids willing to risk that,”‘ Stratten said. “There’s a lot of good kids and some bad kids, and we always make excuses for talent.”



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