What really happened when GMU ran on the court early?

This photo was snapped right as GMU's players were contemplating going out. (Chris Conway/The CT)

Adam Stern
Executive editor
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This photo was snapped right as GMU's players were contemplating going out. (Chris Conway/The CT)

Proverbially speaking, we here at The CT Sports are not fans of beating a dead horse, rubbing salt in a wound, or kicking someone when they’re down.

But when a story falls in our lap, there’s little else we can do, folks. And after GMU Athletic Director Tom O’Connor issued an apology to VCU Monday for the Senior Night debacle, that’s where the tale of a VCU fan who witnessed the incident up-close-and-personal comes into play.

Here’s the story:

I was walking back from a night class on Monday night, strolling through my Twitter timeline on my phone, when I saw Washington Post’s intrepid reporter Steven Goff — who covers GMU for the paper — tweet out the details he had been told of what happened during the early-entrance incident.  Here are the tweets he posted, in full:

Tweet No. 1: “re: GMU premature pregame entrance. Cornelius started to lead team out, saw VCU still on court for ceremony, stopped and turned around…..”

Tweet No. 2: “…..a moment later, someone told him to go ahead, so he led them out. Created confusing situation with Burgess family still on court”

As these details — which most likely have come from Goff asking the GMU players and staff their versions — were news to me, I retweeted these two messages as I know a lot of VCU fans don’t follow a GMU reporter so I wanted people to see for themselves. After doing so, VCU fan Kevin “Swiss” Woods responded to both Goff and I in the same tweet, alerting us that he was standing right by the tunnel GMU entered from when it happened, and that was not the version of events that he saw go down.

Woods, a pedigreed member of VCU’s official supporters group, the Rowdy Rams, who stands on the floor during games and is quite often one of the closest fans in the entire building to the team tunnel which the visiting team emerges from, shares what he saw and heard below:

First, I asked Woods if he was 100 percent sure of what he heard, then asked him to tell the story:

“Oh yeah, I was not even ten feet from Andre (Cornelius).”

“What we saw is, Mason started to come out of the tunnel from the locker room while the ceremony is going on … toward the end of it … and they did a little talk together and started heading out and everyone start booing them and I’m like ‘oh i guess they’re coming out now’ and I see Andre and the guy behind him … not entirely sure who guy behind him was, he looked like one of the younger guys … and he’s motioning for Andre to come back into the tunnel and not run out.”

“And then Andre turns back and he’s like ‘what for man’, I heard it clearly, then they talked to each other closely, not talking loud,  just those two guys, not the whole team, and I hear (Ryan) Pearson in the back saying ‘go man, go’, and then Andre is like ‘man, **** it,’ and runs out.”

“That’s every word I could hear out of dude’s mouth. Andre, I could hear as clear as day because he was not even ten feet from me.”

Of course, at this point, the incident is water under the bridge. But since GMU took the rare step yesterday to make a public apology to VCU, we figured we’d pass along this version of the story.

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