The Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference handed
down the punishment.
"The actions of these suspended student-athletes violate the
letter and spirit of the SEC and NCAA rules and regulations of
sportsmanlike conduct," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. "These
suspensions are intended to send a clear and unequivocal message to
all student-athletes in the Southeastern Conference that this
conduct will not be tolerated now or in the future."
Both schools declined bowl invitations last week as punishment
for their teams.
Clemson's Duane Coleman, Nathan Bennett, Brandon Cannon, Roman
Fry, Maurice Nelson and Anthony Waters were suspended. Four other
Clemson players will receive letters of reprimand: Cory Groover,
Tommy Sharpe, Nick Watkins and Bobby Williamson.
It will be up to the team to decide when the players will serve
their suspensions. The Tigers open the season against Texas A&M on
"There is no justification for the altercations that took
place," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said in his first public
comments since the schools declined bowl bids. "I am disappointed
in the actions of some of our players, but 90 percent of them
either stayed out of it or tried to break it up."
The ACC also said senior tailback Yusef Kelley, seen kicking a
South Carolina player who lay face-down with his helmet off, would
have been suspended but does not have any eligibility remaining.
ACC commissioner John Swofford commended Clemson for its
immediate action last week. The conference said it did a thorough
review of video footage before handing out the suspensions.
"The ACC is compelled to take this action because of the nature
and seriousness of the situation," Swofford said. "What took
place in the South Carolina-Clemson game has no place in college
football or any other sporting event."
The SEC also said three other players -- Matthew Thomas, Taqiy
Muhammad and Jamacia Jackson -- would have been suspended if they
had any eligibility remaining.
South Carolina's Thompson said Monday night the team learned of
the discipline at a meeting with new coach Steve Spurrier.
"I try not to look back at it because it's very frustrating,"
said Thompson, a defensive end.
Spurrier said he didn't think he'd tack on additional penalties
for the Gamecocks involved.
The brawl broke out with about six minutes left in the game. It
started when Tigers defensive lineman Bobby Williamson took down
South Carolina quarterback Syvelle Newton and appeared to linger
too long on top of him.
Gamecock offensive lineman Chris White came to Newton's defense,
and eventually both sidelines cleared.
South Carolina coach Lou Holtz, in his last game after 33
seasons, and Bowden tried to break up the brawl, but the fight
stretched nearly 60 yards along the field.
The suspended Clemson players issued a collective statement.
"We realize there is no place for fighting in college athletics
and we accept the suspensions," the statement said. "We apologize
to any Clemson alumnus or college football fan who was embarrassed
by what happened."