Morgan State owes Todd Bozeman an apology

January 10, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Morgan State owes Todd Bozeman an apology

Shame on Morgan State.

Shame on Floyd Kerr.

And shame on the President of South Carolina State for sticking his nose in an area that it clearly didn’t belong.

In the event you don’t know the details, here’s the 30-second version.  Late in Saturday’s game at South Carolina State, Bozeman and his player, Larry Bastfield, were involved in an incident that led some in the arena to believe that the head coach had struck his player in the face.  Bozeman was approached afterwards by South Carolina State President George E. Cooper, who criticized the Bears’ coach for his treatment of Bastfield and his players in the aftermath of Morgan’s win.  He asked Bozeman for the phone number to his athletic director and the coach complied.  Later on Sunday night, Morgan State AD Floyd Kerr informed Bozeman he was being suspended with pay pending an investigation into the alleged incident.  Kerr told Bozeman to return to Baltimore and an assistant coach led the Bears on Monday night in a 2-point loss at Savannah State.

Talk about getting the cart before the horse, huh?

Todd Bozeman deserved better treatment from Kerr and the administration at Morgan State.

And he certainly didn’t deserve to get suspended by his employer without a full account of exactly what happened at South Carolina State on Saturday.

This isn’t about Todd Bozeman’s role in re-shaping Morgan State basketball over the last six years, which has included a pair trips to the NCAA tournament.  And it isn’t about Morgan State taking a collossal gamble on Bozeman when he was hired in 2006.  Both parties owe their successes to one another.

Suspending their head coach without a full review of the situation was horribly wrong.

It got Bozeman – and Morgan State – on the front page of ESPN.com and when you “google search” Todd Bozeman right now, stories popping up first center on the Saturday night incident and the suspension that followed.

Morgan State should be ashamed of the way they handled the whole thing.

Now, in fairness — and you can hear exactly what I said on Monday RIGHT HERE – I’ve seen Todd operate on the sidelines a lot over the years and there’s no doubt he’s very intense.  As I said in the piece you just listened to, I’ve seen Bozeman grab his players and be a tad overly-aggressive while (Please see next page)

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Chuck Says:

    Drew,

    Since when is a university president not credible? Bozeman has a history. When another university president calls and complains about a coach with a history what was the school supposed to do? They didn’t fire him. They just removed him from the team until a more thorough investigation was done. (DF: They didn’t have to remove him to investigate it. And Bozeman told them from the beginning he didn’t punch that player. What stock does his employer put in that? Obviously not much. And the University president can’t be too credible — he told people Bozeman punched a player in the face — and he didn’t.)

  2. ravenmaniac Says:

    Why would Cooper say he saw him punch a player in the face for no reason? Would you actually expect his player to admit this and then join his coach on the bus? How do you know he didn’t do it? Were you there? Are you calling Cooper a liar? According to ESPN, “Bozeman said he talked to Bastfield, and he told him he didn’t think he was struck”. Why would he have to ask him if he were punched? If you punched someone would you have to ask that person if you did it? At least it wasn’t some poor woman who ran out of cheesesteaks this time!

  3. Jake Says:

    Bozeman stands by his school until he gets offered a better job, which he hasn’t. for reasons like this. Its hard for the AD from SC State to give the benefit of the doubt when Bozeman acts like a clown on the bench and gets in his players faces. Imagine if the accusations ended up true, and they let him go and coach the next game. The school has a responsibility to act fairly, which they may not have done, but schools are much more concerned these days with public perception, and that goes for all of them. (DF: It’s a shame you basically don’t know what you’re talking about. Bozeman WAS wooed by other schools but re-signed at Morgan State two years ago. Lots of coaches around the country “get in their player’s faces”. Happens every night in countless gyms across America. Public perception? That’s funny. You mean suspending your coach without really having all the facts so that ESPN.com can run THIS on their front page: “Morgan State’s Bozeman suspending after punching a player”. How’s that for perception? Created, of course, by Morgan State, who handled this all wrong from jump street.)

  4. matt Says:

    because the player is going to say that the coach struck him in front of his entire team? or to anyone privately? ehhhhhhh, no. (DF: Shows what you know. Which, of course, is nothing, as far as this situation goes, anyway.)

  5. Will Says:

    This is standard operating procedure now in sports. if you are accused of something like this, you are removed until there is an investigation.

  6. ravenmaniac Says:

    Yup, apology is on the way no doubt…

    In a telephone interview, Bastfield said that he “exaggerated” his reaction to the contact with Bozeman. Bastfield staggered a few feet backwards after contact with Bozeman, who, according to witnesses, yelled at Bastfield, “Get back here!” after he retreated.

    “These people are completely off the charts” with the allegation, Bozeman said in a telephone interview. “I didn’t hit him in the face.”

    But Christopher Johnson, a South Carolina State graduate who was attending the game, said that he and others clearly saw Bozeman strike the player and hear him yell at Bastfield moments later. Johnson said he was sitting in the front row of the upper level of the small gym.

    “The fans all went, ‘Ohhhhhhh’ when it happened,” Johnson said. “It was pretty dramatic.”

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