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Bozeman's administrative leave unresolved after hearing

The status of Morgan State men's basketball coach Todd Bozeman, who was placed on paid administrative leave Sunday after an incident during his team's victory Saturday at South Carolina State, remains unresolved after he met Wednesday night with a committee charged with finding out what exactly occurred.

Bozeman was accused by South Carolina State president George E. Cooper of punching one of his own players, senior point guard Larry Bastfield, in the face during a timeout late in the game. Cooper later instructed campus police in Orangeburg to ask Bastfield whether he wanted to press charges.

Bastfield said Bozeman's description of making "accidental contact" with him was accurate, and that he told two officers who came to the team bus that his coach had inadventently hit him in the chest. Bozeman returned to Baltimore on Monday on orders from athletic director Floyd Kerr. The Bears lost that night at Savannah State.

According to Bozeman's attorney, South Carolina-based Ricky Lefft, the meeting lasted "about 30 to 45 minutes." Lefft said he requested being present at the meeting, but that neither Kerr nor the school's general counsel responded to his request.

Lefft said Bozeman was told he was not allowed to take notes during the meeting.

"If this is just fact-finding, there should be a role for his [Bozeman's counsel]," Lefft said.

Lefft said Bozeman spoke with Kerr, a member of the three-person panel investigating the incident, earlier in the day and was given "no indication of what they were going to do, no time frame of how long they would take."

Kerr has not returned repeated telephone messages from The Baltimore Sun seeking comment on the incident.

Bozeman was not available for comment Wednesday night.

Lefft said Bozeman watched a tape of the incident with the panel, but that Kerr walked out of the room while the tape was being played. Bozeman said he spoke with Kerr shortly after the incident occurred and that he later apologized to Bastfield and South Carolina State athletic director Charlene Johnson for any action that might have be misconstrued.

Lefft said Bozeman informed him that the panel spoke by telephone with Johnson, as well as the photographer who shot the game for the school. A South Carolina State spokeswoman said Monday that no one at the university would comment on the incident.

Morgan State (3-10) plays again Saturday at home against Norfolk State.

don.markus@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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