By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
St. Bonaventure Director of Safety and Security Gary Segrue said in an e-mail on Monday that his staff isn’t to blame for the ending of Saturday’s Bona-VCU game.
“Despite what has been portrayed in the media about a lack of security,” Segrue said, “I believe the men and women of Safety and Security did an excellent job in handling all aspects of this great game given the circumstances.”
On Sunday, the Atlantic 10 Conference released a statement clarifying the one-shot technical foul that was called on Bonaventure following Matt Mobley’s go-ahead three-pointer. The free throw was made, resulting in the game going into overtime, where VCU won 83-77.
The A-10 said the game officials’ citing crowd interference as the rationale for the technical was “inaccurately associated with the SBU students and fans storming the court during regulation.”
Rather, the conference cited two reasons for the “T.” The most significant was an individual, identified as a Bona security guard, taking the ball from the inbounding baseline (assuming time had expired) and walking down the sideline, causing a VCU player to look for the ball and chase the person so he could inbound the ball. As that was occurring, one of the referees collided with a non-student fan prior to the inbound pass. After those violations, the league acknowledged, the clock expired and students and fans stormed the court with no time left on the clock.
The league said the officiating crew would be disciplined for not immediately stopping the game as a result of the misrepresentation, which “reflected poorly on the SBU student body.”
While Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said he did not blame any one person or group for his team’s victory-turned-defeat, he also said, “I’m not sure what the protocol is for us with the security so the students don’t storm the court…. whatever protocol or whatever it is, we didn’t have. To have our guys lose that way is a travesty.”
Segrue, who was hired to head up the department in June 2015, determined the protocol in place to be followed and carried out properly.
“Proper security protocols, which were developed in concert with the Department of Athletics, were in place and executed at the conclusion of regulation,” he noted.
“With that said, we are always willing to use any incident as a learning experience and change protocols should they be ineffective in accomplishing our goal, which is the protection of students, spectators, players, coaches and officials.”
As for the security officer who grabbed the basketball and, according to the A-10, set off the controversy? Segrue said he was following a common procedure, but that security would not assist in retrieving balls in the future.
“I believe retrieving an errant basketball is something that is performed by security officers throughout the course of a game,” Segrue said. “What made this problematic is that simultaneously a non-student spectator entered the court and made contact with an official. The security officer properly attempted to address the fanatic, however without handing the ball to an official.
“Should one of the three officials stopped play at that point? I cannot professionally answer. I have taken the steps to ensure my officers do not assist with the retrieval of errant basketballs in the future.”
For Bonaventure, it was the fourth court-storming in the last four years, but the first in Segrue’s tenure.