Assault charges force St. FX basketball players out of tournament
Three university basketball players in Antigonish, N.S., who are facing criminal charges, will not be allowed to play in this weekend's conference championship tournament, the school's athletics director said Tuesday.
"We're not suspending them, nor are we presuming that they are necessarily guilty of charges that they are facing," said Leo MacPherson.
"Given the attention it has received we think it's in the best interests to sit them out."
MacPherson said the university will wait until an internal investigation is finished before deciding whether the players will be suspended.
Tyler Richards and Eamon Morrissy of Halifax and William Donkoh of Nepean, Ont., members of the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men, were charged with assault causing bodily harm.
The charges stem from a late-night incident in Antigonish on Feb. 21 that sent a man to hospital, according to the RCMP. The extent of the man's injuries has not been disclosed.
Earlier, Atlantic University Sport (AUS), the regional governing body of university basketball had said it wouldn't prevent the players from participating.
AUS executive director Phil Currie had said it was up to the university to decide whether the students will be disciplined.
"There's nothing in our bylaws or in our operations manual that would prevent them from playing at this point and again, they are innocent until proven guilty, and we have to depend on the institution to make those decisions and work with those decisions."
The X-Men are seeded No. 1 in the championship tournament that will take place at the Halifax Metro Centre this weekend.
Richards, a three-time, first-team AUS all-star, was second in the conference in scoring this season with a 19.6-points-per-game average and was last week's St. FX athlete of the week.