Eastern Illinois will issue internal discipline to Kinyon Hodges, the top scorer on their men's basketball team, after he tried to hit a fan who was sitting in the front row during a game on Thursday. The incident came during an 80-67 loss to Lindenwood, the team's eighth defeat in its last nine games.
Late in the first half of Thursday's game, Hodges walked up to the fan in question and took a swing at his face that did not land. The fan and another man sitting beside him then got up and pointed to the referee, who stopped the game and assessed Hodges a technical foul. Hodges was allowed to remain in the game, but only scored two points despite averaging 13.8 this season.
Announcers are so focused on the poster they don't realize a player SLAPPED A FAN COURTSIDE pic.twitter.com/c0TU0Qxnjg— The Field of 68 (@TheFieldOf68) February 3, 2023
"As an athletic department Eastern Illinois prides itself on good sportsmanship. We do not condone this type of behavior by our men's basketball team or any of our 500 student-athletes," read a statement by school athletic director Tom Michael. "The issue has been addressed with both the player involved for EIU as well as the Ohio Valley Conference with any disciplinary action to be handled internally.
"The player in question understands that this is not the type of behavior displayed by our student-athletes or our men's basketball program and in the heat of the moment let emotions get the best of him. This will be a learning moment moving forward and we apologize to anyone that may have been adversely impacted by the incident."
According to Eastern Illinois coach Marty Simmons, Hodges is "extremely sorry" for his actions. It is unclear exactly what led up to the altercation or if Hodges had been provoked in any way.
"This is not in the character of this young man," Simmons said in a statement. "Even though he did not make physical contact with the fan, he understands the seriousness of this and regrets that his actions have negatively impacted the view of not only himself but the Eastern Illinois program."
Hodges is in his first season at Eastern Illinois after having played the last three years at Three Rivers, a junior college in Poplar Bluff, Mo.