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WAC, C-USA commissioners witnessed melee

HONOLULU -- Hawaii and Houston officials are reviewing the fight between their football players in the Hawaii Bowl to determine if any disciplinary action is needed.

"We are going to take our time and review all the angles and video we have access to," Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said Friday. "There is no real timeline and we will leave no stone left unturned."

A nasty brawl broke out on the field just seconds after the Warriors (9-5) sealed a wild 54-48 triple-overtime victory over the Cougars (7-6) on Thursday night.

For several minutes, players swung helmets, wrestled with each other and threw punches and kicks before the fight was broken up by coaches, security personnel and police. No major injuries were reported.

Both Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson and
Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky attended the game and
witnessed the brawl.

"Karl had conversations with Britton and we all agree that this
has no place in collegiate athletics, especially the sport of
football," Frazier said in a statement. "It is disappointing this
had to happen after such an exciting game.

"We will review the video tapes individually and get together
to make appropriate disciplinary action."

Houston associate athletic director Chris Burkhalter said "the
general consensus by the people in Houston and the people in Hawaii
is that both teams are at fault."

"Emotions were running high, it was a triple-overtime game and
I'm sure people were jawing back and forth -- it just got out of
hand," he said. "It's just a shame it ended that way because up
to that point, we were treated very, very well throughout the whole
time we were there. We had a great time."

Shortly after Hawaii stopped Houston on fourth down in the third OT, nearly 200 players poured onto the field and several scuffles broke out in the sea of black and white jerseys.

After the game, Hawaii coach June Jones said the referees let the game "get out of control" by allowing too much taunting.

The brawl was similar to one that broke out a year ago at Aloha
Stadium between Hawaii and Cincinnati, also a Conference USA school.

Players from both teams charged onto the field and had to be
separated by police after scuffling for about five minutes following the Warriors' 20-19 comeback victory over the Bearcats on Nov. 24, 2002.

A day after the game, Cincinnati athletic director Bob Goin denounced Hawaii officials for creating what he described as an unsafe atmosphere during the game.

"In my 40-year career, it's the worst game management that I have ever seen," he told The Associated Press. "It was terrible, and the University of Hawaii needs to clean it up."

Goin said Cincinnati fans, cheerleaders, coaches and players were harassed and threatened the entire game by Hawaii fans in the stands and on the sideline.

"My wife was in the stands, and I feared for her," he said. "Who's in control? It was sad and disappointing."

Burkhalter voiced similar concerns Friday.

"I know my wife, and the people she was with, were pretty scared for themselves because the Hawaii fans were throwing stuff at them and pouring beer on them," he said. "They were very fearful of, I wouldn't say their lives, but being hurt."

Fans above the tunnel leading to Houston's locker room also posed a problem, Burkhalter said.

"Right above our locker room, they had fans throwing stuff at our players, too," he said. "I don't know what, water bottles or trash, but they had to get police for that, too."

Hawaii officials declined to comment about stadium security.

Only 25,551 of the 50,000 seats were filled for the Christmas
Day game, the smallest crowd of the season.

Honolulu police Capt. Stephen Kim said if either school files a
complaint, police would investigate.