Assault occurs in intramural game

An altercation at an intramural basketball game has left both students and faculty stunned.

Feb. 2 at Young Gymnasium, Tully Lale, sophomore mass communications major, was officiating an intramural basketball game when he called a foul on Steven Trotter, senior criminal justice major, who disputed the call. Lale said he was struck by Trotter.

“Tully made the right call, and I was wrong,” Trotter said. “I apologized for what I did, and I wish I could change what I did.”

Trotter was taken into custody by the Joplin Police Department, and Lale was treated for a concussion he received after falling to the floor.

Lale filed a complaint with JPD, but decided against further legal action for a number of reasons.

“I told him (Trotter) that life was too short to hold a grudge,” Lale said. “Hopefully, he can take this and learn something positive from it.”

However, Trotter did not escape without punishment.

Trotter said he was placed on academic suspension for a year, and after that time, he must re-apply to return to Missouri Southern. Trotter thought this was too harsh, as he had only two classes left before graduation.

“I spoke with my teachers, and they said that I could finish my classes over the Internet,” Trotter said. “But he (Doug Carnahan, dean of students) said that I couldn’t. The punishment was too harsh.”

While Lale didn’t press charges, he still thought that some punishment was warranted.

“If that was the school’s policy on dealing with assault cases, then it’s fine with me,” Lale said.

Darren Fullerton, director of intramural sports, said this was an isolated event.

“I was at the event when it happened, and I was shocked,” Fullerton said. “I’ve been in charge of this for three years, and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened.

“And I don’t know of anything like this ever happening in the past.”

Fullerton held extra meetings with the team captains this week and stepped up the rules with officials to help avoid a repeat incident of this nature.

“We just tried to stress to everyone that intramurals are not professional sports,” he said. “They are for fun, and it’s for the students.”

Current school policy states athletes may participate in intramurals, as long as it’s not the sport they play for the College.

Carnahan and Fullerton both agree there is no need to change the policy.

“I think it’s fine as long as they are not playing their normal sport,” Carnahan said.

Fullerton said there would be no change from their end.

“Athletes out of season are treated just like regular students,” he said.

Bill Cooke, head football coach, was not aware of the situation and had no comment regarding the incident.

“Everyone is capable of letting their emotions get away,” Tully said. “You just have to stop things like that from happening.”