Following the Southwestern Athletic Conference decision to stagger the suspensions of multiple Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff players involved in an Oct. 17 brawl, the blogosphere, messages boards and social networking sites blew up with various fan reactions to the not so surprising news.

Said MightyDog on the TSPNsports message board:

When you can use wisdom in making decisions it is hard for those not in the board room to understand the rationale that was used to come to a conclusion. This is a good decision for affected teams.

ALPHA3 added:

Given that SU has 3 games left maybe the other seniors who had to serve the two game suspension maybe felt they needed to sit out the Alcorn and TSU games so they can play in the Bayou Classic.

Some die hard HBCU fans, like MikeBigg, found no real issues with the conference’s decision.  However, the message board regular believes the SWAC brass might have caught themselves in a double standard.

I have no problem with them staggering the suspensions,” he said. “What I do have a problem with is them saying we had to ban SU and JSU from the (SWAC championship game) because it was bad for our image and now I’m supposed to feel that a brawl wasn’t bad for our image and thus this leniency?

In a thread entitled, “What were they smoking over in the SWAC office” on Onnidan’s HBCU Sports message board, members attempted to examine the varying reasons behind the controversial decision.

jag4life pointed out:

SU only has 63 players and only 54 are on scholarship.

But either way, this is not unprecedented.  The ACC staggered Clemson’s suspensions for their brawl with SC a few years ago.

Some fans of Southern’s athletic department Facebook page were not pleased how the league handed down what to them were harsh punishments.  Others were grateful that SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp displayed some leniency.

“Sad that they gave people charges.  I’m glad they corrected it, but I knew all of those boys didn’t have anything to do with it.” quipped Tye Dunn.

“Real sad part is the SWAC suspended more players for one incident than the SEC and NFL combined,” wrote LaVerne Mosely Shaw.  “We are punished more regardless and that is so sad in 2011.



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