Tech students Michael Cox of Sigma Chi and SGA President, Lee Gatts of Phi Delta Theta, were kicked out of an intramural basketball game Jan. 30 for fighting.
The intramural basketball game between Sigma Chi and Phi Delta fraternities got heated and a punch was thrown by Gatts during play.
The scoreboard was 38-11 with Sigma Chi. Cox, Sigma Chi forward, brought the ball down the court, releasing the ball to a teammate.
“I was dribbling down the sideline and I turned my back up to the top of the key,” Cox said. “The guy came up and bumped me out of bounds continuously. I guess that’s his form of defense.”
Lee Gatts, Phi Delta Theta defensive player said, “Both teams were playing competitively and realized the referees weren’t calling very much for either side. I really didn’t think there was much of a situation.”
Spectator Justin Handley said, “Cox threw his hands up after he released the ball motioning for the foul to be called by the ref, but nothing ever got called.”
Cox said both referees were inexperienced and had not been making calls the entire game.
“Gatts gave me a nudge in the back so I turned around and shoved him back. He pushed me again and I stumbled into the Phi Delta sideline,” Cox said. “While I was turned around trying to get out of the Phi Delta circle it was said that he threw a punch at me, but I didn’t see it.”
Handley said, “After Cox got out of the Phi Delta sideline, Gatts threw a punch right at him and missed.”
“Cox tensed up but didn’t go after him because by that time they were already breaking everything up.”
Both Cox and Gatts were ejected from the game and Phi Delta was given a technical foul for the push and thrown punch.
Intramural employee Jake Reel officiated the game.”It was a situation that escalated due to competitiveness. The intramural staff and student employees handled the situation incredibly well,” he said.
Gatts said that he believed the situation to have been dealt with.
“I believe this may be an example of an ant hill trying to be a mountain but there really wasn’t any kind of situation,” Gatts said. “All players from both teams have been cleared to play all intramural sports.”
The fight received social media attention from several members of the student body. Blake Allison, student, tweeted “@TNTechSGA president Gatts throws punches while playing intramural basketball game” after hearing of the “almost fight.”
Allison said that he was blocked by the SGA’s Twitter account after the tweet was published.
“I wasn’t the only one to get blocked,” said Allison. “Half of intramural got blocked by the SGA account for tweeting about the incident.”
Sigma Chi ended the game with a 30-point victory and both players are considered in good standing with Tech’s Intramural at this time.