Morgan State men's basketball coach Todd Bozeman has been suspended indefinitely with pay following an incident with one of his own players near the end of the team's road win at South Carolina State on Saturday.
Athletic Director Floyd Kerr informed him of the decision late Sunday night, Bozeman told The Baltimore Sun. Kerr also informed the coach he was to "separate" himself from the team and have no further contact with any of his players or coaches until further notice.
The incident in question revolves around contact between Bozeman and senior guard Larry Batsfield. Several witnesses in the crowd, including South Carolina State president George E. Cooper, claimed to have seen the coach punch his player in the face. Bozeman, however, characterized what took place as "accidental contact," while Batsfield said Sunday night that he "exaggerated" his reaction following the physical contact.
"These people are completely off the charts" regarding the accusations, Bozeman said in a telephone interview with The Sun. "I didn't hit him in the face."
Batsfield corroborated his coach's story.
"They said they were told he hit me in the face," Bastfield said, according to The Sun. "I told him that he accidently bumped me in the chest. It was something that happens in the heat of the game."
Bozeman, who became the youngest head coach to reach the Sweet 16 when he led California there in 1993, is no stranger to controversy.
In 1996, Bozeman was banned from college basketball for eight years after admitting to paying $30,000 to the parents of former Golden Bears recruit Jelani Gardner. He was also the subject of a sexual harassment complaint made by a Cal student.
In 2007, Bozeman was charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident during a postgame meal at a Virginia restaurant. The charges were later dismissed after he reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the manager of the establishment and issued a public apology.