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Atlantic 10 takes Bona students off the hook, clarifies and defends technical call

The St. Bonaventure student body is off the hook.

The Atlantic 10 Conference said the students were not responsible for the administrative technical foul called at the end of regulation in Saturday's St. Bonaventure game against Virginia Commonwealth. The conference clarified the decision that cost the Bonnies the game.

The conference said the actions of a security guard who delayed the game by picking up the ball with 0.5 seconds left and a fan who ran into an official caused the technical. Both of those events occurred before the students stormed the court to celebrate an apparent 66-65 Bona victory.

VCU subsequently made the free throw it was awarded for the technical and then won the game in overtime, 83-77. Both Bona's and VCU's coaches were told during the game by the officials that the students' actions were responsible.

The conference's statement serves, more or less, as an apology to the students. The officials will be disciplined, the conference said, for not stopping the game with 0.5 seconds to go, after Bona's Matt Mobley hit a go-ahead three-point shot. The officiating crew included Gary Prager, Larry Scirotto and Anthony Franklin.

The Atlantic 10 said in a statement: "Although the game officials cited crowd interference as the rationale for assessing the administrative technical foul at the end of regulation in the VCU-St. Bonaventure men's basketball game, that interpretation was inaccurately associated with the SBU students and fans storming the court during regulation."

"The administrative technical foul was assessed for multiple reasons. The most significant was an individual taking the game ball from the inbounding baseline (assuming time had expired) and walking down the sideline, causing the VCU player to look for the ball, and chase the individual to secure the ball for inbound. Simultaneously, one of the game officials collided with a fan on the court, prior to the inbound toss. It was after these violations that the clock expired, and the students and fans stormed the court with :00 on the clock."

"As a result of this misrepresentation of the administrative technical foul assessed to St. Bonaventure, which reflected poorly on the SBU student body, the officiating crew will be disciplined for not immediately stopping the game for disruption of play. "

"There were an unfortunate series of events in this game, which impacted both institutions and the A-10 ... thus, the conference will continue to work with all involved including the game officials for stronger game management in the future."

St. Bonaventure acknowledged it needs to make further efforts to try to prevent students from storming the court.

A statement from Bona coach Mark Schmidt: "Comments that I made after last night's game may have been misconstrued by some people. Our students did not come onto the court until the buzzer sounded.  However, to ensure the future safety of everyone - the fans, the players and the officials - we need to put proper protocols in place which will prevent anyone from accessing the court while a game is in progress. We need to work together to ensure a high level of safety. We expect to win. We are as good as any team in the conference. It is unfortunate that some fans felt it necessary to come onto the court before the game concluded. We need to work together to address this properly."

A statement from Bona Athletic Director Tim Kenney: "We appreciate the thorough review of the circumstances of Saturday's men's basketball game undertaken by Commissioner McGlade and the Atlantic 10 Conference staff. We support their findings as outlined in the A-10's announcement today.

"After our own extensive review of the video of the final seconds of the game, it is clearly evident that our student body was not the reason for the administrative technical.  We appreciate the A-10's confirmation of that.

"As always, we will continue to review our protocols and identify ways to do things more effectively as we move forward.

"There is nothing that can be done to change the outcome of the game, and I am extremely disappointed for our student-athletes and coaches, whose efforts put them in a position to win. I am confident that our team will continue to compete at a high level the rest of the season and represent themselves and St. Bonaventure University in the first-class manner they always do."

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