Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A college coach has been accused of punching a basketball player in the face during a game. Morgan State’s Todd Bozeman is on the bench, suspended indefinitely.
Monique Griego has more on the investigation.
It’s an allegation both Bozeman and the player involved deny happened but the university says it is taking the allegation seriously.
In a heated moment during Morgan State’s Saturday night game against South Carolina State, witnesses claim they saw coach Todd Bozeman strike player Larry Bastfield.
Christopher Johnson tells WJZ’s media partner, The Baltimore Sun, he saw Bozeman punch Bastfield in the face, saying, “It was pretty dramatic. There were a lot of people there who thought the coach was out of line.”
Sports writer Thomas Grant told WJZ what he thought he saw.
“It appeared as though Bozeman had some type of pushback towards Bastfield that caused him to stagger back about a few feet,” Grant said.
It was enough for South Carolina State’s president to call security and contact Morgan State officials.
“Some say he actually struck the student. Others say it wasn’t that bad; he kinda gave him a little push,” said Clint Coleman, Morgan State University.
In a statement, Bozeman said, “It’s definitely overblown. I didn’t hit him. There should have been an investigation already.”
A three-judge panel will now be convened to determine exactly what happened between the player and the coach.
Those who know the coach say this would be out of character.
“He’s very animated and he’s very passionate but I have never seen him hit a player,” said one.
“He’s a very good coach. He’s a winning, determined coach,” said another.
Player Larry Bastfield did not press charges and says he was accidentally bumped.
WJZ has learned there is video of the incident. However, officials tell us it is unclear on the tape exactly what happened.
Bozeman is on paid administrative leave. He did not coach Monday night’s game against Savannah State.