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Southland Conference Executive Committee president answers criticism on suspension of Darius Taylor

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 00:11

The recent suspension of Sam Houston State University linebacker Darius Taylor raised questions of a double standard of the Southland Conference Executive Committee from the SHSU fan base. Despite these criticisms, there was no conflict according to the committee’s president.

University of Central Arkansas Athletic Director Brad Teague’s involvement as the Executive Committee president has sparked questions of biased decisions in the upholding suspension of Taylor. Despite the criticism, Teague said he has been consistent with conference rulings.

“It’s not up to me to make the suspensions,” Teague said. “What happens is the conference makes the suspensions and then the institutions [that] has a student athlete who’s suspended can appeal that suspension. The appeal comes then to the executive committee.”

Although SHSU filed an appeal, the committee denied overturning the suspension.

“We disagree with the ruling that this was a targeted hit,” SHSU Athletic Director Bobby Williams said. “We asked the league to take a second look at the play in comparison to other similar hits that went unpunished this season.”

With the upholding of Taylor’s suspension, Teague has come under fire due to claims that the decision benefited UCA’s football team. Currently UCA and SHSU are involved in a tight battle for conference champions along with Southeastern Louisiana, but according to Teague the decision did not benefit UCA because the two teams had already played each other earlier in the season.

 “Since I was involved with either a student athlete or a team in which UCA was playing I could not be on that appeal committee,” Teague said in regards of the half-game suspension of UCA player Jestin Love in Sept.  “The only one I could be involved with was [Taylor’s] because we had already played Sam Houston and we weren’t going to play them again.”

During the appeal hearing of Kevin Roberts of Southeastern Louisiana, Teague was not present.

The conflict of interest will always be an issue according to Teague.

“Every member of the committee is a part of some institution [in the conference] and that’s never going to change. The reason it’s not a conflict is because when it involves your institution, or an institution in which you may play, then you cannot be on the appeal committee,” said Teague.

Teague assumed the role of Executive Committee president in May, taking over for SHSU Athletic Director Bobby Williams after his two-year term ended. As president, Teague said he will continue to ensure the safety of players is a priority.

“The issue is safety. It’s all about safety,” Teague said. “The conference is not going to change on safety measures so if there’s a severe and significant issue with the hit, or a helmet to helmet, then the conference is going to suspend players and that’s not going to change, so we just got to change the behavior.”

The Southland Conference and the NCAA chose not to comment on this issue.

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