Big East punishes Tech's Hall for a half
RICHMOND, Va. -- Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall of Virginia Tech and Antrel Rolle of Miami were suspended Monday for a sideline fight in the Hokies' victory against the Hurricanes last weekend.
Hall will miss the first half of the fifth-ranked Hokies' game at Pittsburgh (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) on Saturday night, and Rolle will miss all of Miami's (No. 7, No. 6) game against No. 18 Tennessee (No. 17, No. 18).
Hall and Rolle fought near the Miami bench with about five minutes left in Virginia Tech's 31-7 victory Saturday night in Blacksburg, which ended Miami's 39-game regular season winning streak.
Hall was suspended for only a half because he was in the game at the time of the fight; Rolle was not. The suspension lengths are automatic under NCAA guidelines governing fighting.
"Certainly I think it's unfair, but that's the way the rule reads and we'll abide by that," Miami coach Larry Coker said, alleging Hall threw the first punch.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said video he'd seen showed "a push and then a guy swung at air."
League spokesman John Paquette said the decision would stand.
The loss of their best defensive back, even if only for a half, could be very costly to the Hokies against Pittsburgh, which leads the Big East and features the top passing tandem of quarterback Rod Rutherford and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
The Hokies are already short-handed at cornerback, having lost Garnell Wilds for the season with a knee injury.
The Hurricanes aren't as strapped at cornerback and will probably start sophomore Kelly Jennings in Rolle's place against the Volunteers, Coker said.
"We're very fortunate there from the standpoint that we do have some depth," Coker said.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press