University of Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay was injured during a fight behind the West Virginia bench, moments after the Mountaineers' 59-56 win over Hawaii in the Rainbow Wahine Classic on Sunday night.
Jay, who was kneeling on the court for several minutes after the fight was broken up, tried to intervene and emerged from the scrum holding his face. He walked off the court under his own power about 20 minutes after EMTs checked on him, saying his back "spasmed up" on him. It was believed he was either hit by a chair or punched.
"We were getting ready to do the awards ceremony and I saw the fight break out in the corner, so I just leaped over there to try and help break it up," Jay said to the Honolulu Star Advertiser. "We were just trying to peel people off and keep everybody from swinging and everything. And then I got hit with something in the back.
"I guess I got a big bruise back there. I can't tell you."
According to a TV report, a Hawaii fan sitting behind the West Virginia bench started heckling the Mountaineer fans and then got in a shouting match with members of the WVU staff in the game's final seconds.
A West Virginia fan grabbed the Hawaii fan, prompting the brawl, which eventually spilled onto the court.
The wife of Mountaineers coach Mike Carey fainted during the fight, but reports said she was fine.
After the fracas, Jay was asked about security in the arena. According to the game notes, the attendance was 1,723, and arena management said their security team was slightly short-staffed.
"Obviously we needed some help in there, but it's the kind of thing we need to really break up fast," Jay said, adding that he hasn't encountered anything like that in his 19 years at the school. "It's unfortunate and everything. It was a fan and I think a [WVU] assistant coach got into it, and that's where it got out of control.SI WIRE: Oakland University says former women's basketball coach abused players
"It's just one of those things. Now we're going to have to look at our security plan and probably beef it up, and just make sure our people are doing everything they can so it doesn't happen again."