Eastern Illinois basketball player punches fan sitting courtside, discipline to be handled ‘internally’

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Eastern Illinois men’s basketball guard Kinyon Hodges raised eyebrows last week when he appeared to punch a fan sitting courtside during a game against Lindenwood.

The game was held Thursday at Lindenwood’s Hyland Arena. With about 2:30 minutes left in the first half, the Panthers were in the middle of a play when Hodges walked up to the sideline and addressed two fans who were sitting in the front row. Hodges then hit one of the fans.

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Eastern Illinois Panthers guard Kinyon Hodges, #10, brings the ball up court during the second half of a game between the Eastern Illinois Panthers and the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 16 2022 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
(Graham Stokes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The two men rose from their chairs and pointed at Hodges as the player ran back onto the court. The game was stopped and Hodges received a technical foul. He was allowed to stay in the game.

The school said in a statement Friday that any disciplinary action would be handled «internally.»

«We are aware of the incident that occurred during the first half of our men’s basketball game at Lindenwood,» Eastern Illinois Athletic Director Tom Michael said in a statement. «As an athletic department, Eastern Illinois prides itself on good sportsmanship. We do not condone this type of behavior on the part of our men’s basketball team or any of our 500 student-athletes.

Eastern Illinois Panthers guard Kinyon Hodges, #10, and Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja, #42, battle for a rebound during the second half at State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois on May 7. November 2022.

Eastern Illinois Panthers guard Kinyon Hodges, #10, and Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja, #42, battle for a rebound during the second half at State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois on May 7. November 2022.
(Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)

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«The issue has been addressed with both the player involved at EIU and the Ohio Valley Conference and any disciplinary action will be handled internally. The player in question understands that this is not the type of behavior displayed by our student-athletes or our men’s basketball program and, in the heat of the moment, let the emotions take over. This will be a teachable moment moving forward and we apologize to anyone who may have been negatively affected by the incident.»

Eastern Illinois coach Marty Simmons said Hodges was «extremely sorry» for his actions.

Eastern Illinois guard Kinyon Hodges, #10, chases down a loose ball during a college basketball game between the Eastern Illinois Panthers and the Iowa Hawkeyes on December 21, 2022 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

Eastern Illinois guard Kinyon Hodges, #10, chases down a loose ball during a college basketball game between the Eastern Illinois Panthers and the Iowa Hawkeyes on December 21, 2022 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.
(Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Hodges transferred to eastern Illinois from Three Rivers College in Missouri. He is averaging 13.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He had two points in an 80-67 loss to Lindenwood.

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