rebels basketball:

UNLV sued over 2008 championship game scuffles

Two fans accuse university of failing to reasonably supervise Thomas & Mack Center

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Sam Morris

UNLV Rebels and fans celebrate their 76-61 defeat of BYU in the Mountain West Conference championship game Saturday, March 15, 2008 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNLV vs. BYU championship game

UNLV Rebels and fans celebrate their 76-61 defeat of BYU in the Mountain West Conference championship game Saturday, March 15, 2008 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Launch slideshow »

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Two basketball fans are suing UNLV and the Thomas & Mack Center, saying they were injured when scuffles erupted among fans after a 2008 championship game.

Utah County, Utah, residents Brett Walkenhorst and Chad Walkenhorst say they were hurt after a game on March 15, 2008. That's when UNLV's men's team won the Mountain West Conference Tournament by defeating regular-season champion BYU 76-61 and some fans rushed toward the celebration on the floor while others headed for the exits.

Their lawsuit, filed in Clark County District Court this week, also names the Mountain West Conference as a defendant.

"As plaintiffs tried to protect their family from the crowd of people, plaintiff Brett Walkenhorst was subsequently hit in the face and knocked to the ground. Plaintiff Chad Walkenhorst was hit in the head," the suit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Cory Jones of the Henderson law firm Royal, Jones, Miles, Dunkley & Wilson, alleges the defendants failed to supervise the Thomas & Mack Center in a reasonably safe manner.

Officials at the Thomas & Mack Center have not responded to the allegations and a spokeswoman had no immediate comment Thursday.

In seeking unspecified damages, Brett Walkenhorst says he sustained an eye injury that may be permanent and disabling while Chad Walkenhorst said he has a head injury that may be permanent and disabling.

In 2008, Deseret (Utah) News writer Mike Sorensen commented on the incidents after the game and noted they illustrate the potential conflict of a city hosting the MWC tournament when its team is in the event. He wrote:

"So on my flight home from Las Vegas yesterday, I saw a front-page story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about the big fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, right underneath a story about UNLV's championship victory over BYU. However, there wasn't a word in the section about the fights at the Thomas & Mack Center after the UNLV-BYU title game. I guess the Las Vegas media were looking the other way, literally or figuratively, when all the mayhem was going on ...

"Oh, there was one mention about the 'brainless' security measures of trying to keep celebrating Rebel fans off the court, not the brainless fans mixing it up in the stands. The columnist had a decent point that a lot of the scuffles in the stands were a result of fans and ushers trying to keep exuberant fans from coming down the aisles. But what gives fans the right to 'rush the floor,' just because their team won?

Click to enlarge photo

Sarah Cummard, wife of BYU star guard Lee Cummard, points during second half action of the Cougars' 80-69 semifinal victory over Air Force earlier this year in the Mountain West Conference tournament semifinals. Cummard made the trip to Vegas to support her husband despite an alleged incident between her and some UNLV fans during last year's tournament title game.

"BYU fans weren't blameless in the melees, but next year, the MWC needs to figure out a way to separate the fans from the two competing schools. Of course, it's kind of difficult as long as the tournament is played at the home arena of a school with fans throughout the whole arena. But it may not be a great idea to have the band from the opposing school right next to a bunch of students from the host school. And if the MWC is serious about keeping fans off the court next year, they better replace the 70-year-old ushers in the red coats with some big-bodied bouncers from the Strip."

The incident gained such notoriety that fans opposed to BYU at the 2009 tournament at the Thomas & Mack -- during which BYU and UNLV did not play against each other -- took to chanting "Psycho Sarah" at Sarah Cummard, wife of BYU star player Lee Cummard.

The chant stemmed from an alleged incident during the 2008 BYU-UNLV championship game when Sarah Cummard was rumored to have thrown punches toward hostile Rebels fans.

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  1. Walkenhorst?? Didn't BYU have a football player by the same name? I swear that guy played for 7 years. Anyway, if they are anywhere near the size of that guy, I am sure they can make it through a little fight without "permanent and disabling" damage. Give me a break with this lawsuit bullcrap. Just a couple losers trying to manipulate the screwed up legal system to make themselves a buck.

  2. It seems to me that Brett Walkenhorst and Chad Walkenhorst are just a bunch of losers trying to profiteer and make a few extra bucks. If Brett and Chad are reading this, give it up guys...you are truly the scum of the earth.

  3. So Rebel fans have been fixated on "Psycho Sarah" for a year now, traumatized because the petite blonde bruised up some stud with her massive guns, pictured above. And now you are upset that a couple of victims with actual injuries are bringing to light REAL acts of violence? Who, exactly, are the whiners and losers?

  4. ...just typical of my LDS bretheren to get upset at something and sue for "justification".

    Did they mention in the lawsuit something about it being the refs fault his beloved Cougars lost and that UNLV vacate their win ASAP?

    These guys are dispicable....they swear every UNLV fan was drunk or on drugs, nevermind that a large % of the UNLV fans are LDS...but I guess not good ones or they'd be BYU fans :)

    Fact is, I've seen fights at BYU games in the Marriott.....heck what about the BYU fan and Ute Cheerleader? BYU fan jumps out of stands to fight the Ute cheerleader only to get his butt kicked....probably sued the Utes for scoring a touchdown that irritated him, the conference for scheduling the game, and LA Gear for making the Karl Malon catapult shoes that "made" him jump out of the stands...fans like these two are an embarassement.

    If I were UNLV, I'd countersue these two for being party to a public disturbance, and then sue BYU fans for storming the field after their Las Vegas Bowl victories, and BYU for allowing them too but then not allowing UNLV fans the same luxury in basketball. See how stupid we can make this circus!

  5. Hey espinoza then why not sue the people that ACTUALLY beat them up instead of going after the conference and the school that won? Heck, I'm surprised they didn't sue the Thomas and Mack quite frankly, because they do the security and both Thomas and Mack were Ute graduates...makes more sense! LOL!

  6. They should sue Tavernari for sucking. His inability to hit shots is much more directly related to the fans rushing the court in a mad frenzy than anything UNLV or the Thomas & Mack security did or did not do. Heck, why not sue Wink Adams? 14 straight points to win the game? Sue his a**.

    Seriously though, I am personally more responsible for the Walkenhorsts irreparable and debilitating injuries than UNLV/T&M are. I was cheering from the upper deck, encouraging people to rush the court. SUE ME!!!!!!!!!!

    If they weren't Mormon, I'd be convinced that these jackasses were the same folks who sued McDonalds for having the gall to serve hot coffee.

  7. You have GOT to be kidding me!

    These "scuffles" wouldn't have occurred if the geniuses over at the T&M would have let the fans rush the floor when the game was over. They are STUPID to try and hold everyone back. Not even the biggest-bodied bouncers from the strip are going to hold back a determined mass of fans intent on celebrating their team's victory. When they do, they cause more problems than they prevent.

    The only reason these scuffles occurred was because UNLV fans were stuck in the aisles pushing their way onto the floor when they should have been allowed to freely run onto it.

  8. unlvrebelx,

    You sure do talk a lot about drugs..goes to show what you are think about.

  9. They should sue byu athletic director tom holmo.

    He's the one that demanded that stupid black wall that caused this whole situation to begin with.

    Him and the dudly-do-right byu fans who decided to deputize themselves as T&M security guards, and then proceed to attack students who were tryign to rush the court.

    These two probably started a fight with dollar signs in their eyes.

    Low life letigious coogie hypocrites.

  10. UNLV should not be a part of this lawsuit because the mountain west conference tournament is put on by the conference, not UNLV. However, I think the conference should be sued for listening to idiotic ideas like erecting barriers to keep the winning team's fans off the court. Worst possible idea, and it came from Holmoe. So the lesson is don't cater to the idiot, or you'll end up with this situation.

  11. 2 inbread REDNECKS LOOKING TO GET PAID
    CASE DISMISSED

  12. Yeah and good old Bob, we already know he has an IQ of 0. Nice comment Bob, a big old BYU football player and a BYU attorney suing UNLV. Hey Bob is this why your bashing Quintrell Thomas because your a BYU fan? Imagine that. Why a year and 2 months later? Oh that's right they were going to their BYU doctor so they could file their BYU BS claim. I'll be more than willing to testify how many BYU birds and F bombs were flying at us when we kicked their A**. Not to mention how many were acting as security trying to stop UNLV fans from celebrating. Oh right BYU never rushes the floor. I'll call BS on the hypocrites.

  13. I aint saying they're Gold Diggers (Walkenhorst), but they aint messin' with no broke!!!! Get real...and a life! Maybe move to Las Vegas where "we" get out....

  14. Wow, getting posterized like this is what happens when you throw yourself into the spotlight trying to collect of few bucks.

    All these guys are doing is adding to the rivalry. Fine by me.

  15. It's the weirdest thing but 90% of BYU fans are cry-babies with no concept of sportsmanship nor can they accept defeat from a better team.

    Let's spell this out for everyone: When THEY win, they rush field and celebrate and Holmoe and the Utah media (and the UNLV fans) have zero problem with it. But when UNLV wins, rushing the court is suddenly shameful, unfair, and dangerous.

    Because of the new security policies implemented, the announcer kept telling people to stay off of the court, and I watched and saw for myself as BYU fans were literally grabbing UNLV fans and pulling them back to attempt to enforce it...which caused fights. Not all, but a majority of BYU fans suck and are more to blame for the fights that occurred (along with Holmoe and the MWC).

    Hey Holmoe, rushing the court is part of college basketball. Just because BYU can't play worth crap in March isn't reason to fiddle with a tradition that has existed forever, which CAUSED the problem. Funny how there has never been fights before until the very year of the "security walls."

    BYU fans cry louder and more incessantly than anyone in the country. If you can't beat'em, then sue'em. What a frigg'in joke.

  16. Storm the court in Provo next year? Anyone?

  17. Easy...simmer down...take a few deep breaths. Let us hear the facts before we have a coronary. I would agree that on the surface it sounds lame but there were very limited factual details. If it is as simple as it was put in this article I would agree they are idiots. They do not represent the majority of us BYU fans.

    Doc Rebel what degree do you actually have? "90% of BYU fans are cry-babies with no concept of sportsmanship nor can they accept defeat from a better team". I am impressed with the science and numbers backing up your claims. By my calcualtions you are way off though. I came up with only 5.392871% of actual BYU cry babies.

    It is interesting to me how we are the most hated school in the conference and all of these claims (mostly by Utah and UNLV fans(about 72.84352% of them) of being a cry baby. Well I am surrounded by BYU fans here in Utah and we just sit back and laugh at the outlandish claims you all make (94.69209347% of us).

    By the way, we really don't give a poop what you think of us.

  18. It seems like you care enough to go to a Vegas paper, click the UNLV section, click an article relating to BYU, create an account, and make a post.

  19. Let's get it straight UNLV has been the laughing stock of the NCAA since Tark put this glorified junior college in the toilet. They recruit bums,criminals,drug addicts,stumble bums,high school drop outs,rejects other teams refuse to have and someone has the audacity to call people who aren't UNLV fans scum? This home for nit wits on Maryland Parkway is a disgrace to higher education. Is it any wonder Las Vegas brightest students refuse to go near this joke called UNLV?Coincidently UNLV gets no respect for their athletic teams anywhere in America. Just a wink, a nod and a raised eye brow when they are mentioned any where else but the school of cake baking and valet parking .

  20. Laughing stock of the NCAA? It's true. Homeless put together a committee to scour the entire country to question every single person associated with the NCAA and they all said the exact same thing, "UNLV has been the laughing stock of the NCAA since Tark put this glorified junior college in the toilet. They recruit bums,criminals,drug addicts,stumble bums,high school drop outs,rejects other teams refuse to have." Even the annoucers calling all the Rebel games would say what a miserable university UNLV was.

    Right on point, good work homeless!

    Yeah, I bet they were the laughing stock of the NCAA during Tark's era especially in the late eighties early nineties when they were destroying schools from all over the country. Including yours I'm sure. Your moronic comment is the same one you've been repeating for months now. Yet you obviously know nothing about UNLV and it's athletics or else you wouldn't make these idiotic slurs. Clearly, just like the whiney byu fans, you're attacks are based simply on that you too have been beaten or annihilated by UNLV in an important game or any game for that matter. GET OVER IT AND GET A LIFE!

  21. This is as ridiculous as going to a concert and then filing a lawsuit against the house of blues because somebody in the mosh pit pushed you. The venue isnt responsible for controlling how people act... I highly doubt those guys will get anything out of this case. And how can they prove it was even UNLV fans? I think his mom pushed him...

  22. All you have to do is google "fight" "BYU" and "Game" you'll see how much BS this "We were just standing there minding our own business and all of a sudden these drunk, drugged-up UNLV fans beat us up for no reason" attitude really is....

    Funny when the shoe's on the other foot how BYU fans justify, and just say its part of the game... like here: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&...

    Just don't be a hypocrite....

  23. Response to "Easy":

    Well, I'm LDS and tolerate daily the crying from BYU fans all around me... that's how I know of the 90%. I also have a subscription to Cougarboard (as you may know), which is a depressing website when BYU can't win--and completely unrealistic when they do.

    In any case, I appreciate how your post is directed to me and has nothing to do with the "issue" of the article, which happens to feature yet another set of whiny geeks from the BYU community making yet another fuss.

    Your AD cries, your fans cry, BYU makes all of US cry with their inability to win a game in March. Just how it is.

  24. Homer,
    How wrong you are. I was top of my class at Reed High School in Reno and I chose UNLV over 3 other colleges (UNR CSU and FSU). I did very well with my degree from UNLV and feel like I got a quality education at UNLV. Also, I met my wife at UNLV and she was the valedictorian for her high school class from Cimarron-Memorial High school in Vegas. And it may surprise you to know that UNLV is though of highly in industry, especially in my field (geoscience and civil engineering). At least UNLV is a real university not a church school that does almost zero graduate research and gives a biased "education" to thousands of LDS drones.

  25. Hey, homer, you are an idiot. Why dont you get some clue as to what you're talking about?

    First of all, UNLV is a GREAT business school. Coincidentally, we live in a city based on business. I know plenty of teachers that graduated from UNLV. Shelley berkley graduated UNLV, john ensign, george maloof, the list goes on.
    And I'm interested in all these criminals bums and high school drop outs they recruit. Name one recruit who dropped out of high school.

    Dont talk sh%^ on our school.

    and the laughing stock of the ncaa? Hmm, sweet 16 in 06? Thats funny. Not to mention 18-20 years ago, we were really the laughing stock of the NCAA. We actually hold a record for biggest blow out in a championship game, we beat duke by 30. So, gtfo.

  26. UNLV is IRRELEVANT when it comes to the MWC. When you accomplish something in sports - other than NCAA sanctions for CHEATING, come talk smack. As far as a school that does it right - just look north! Our record speaks for itself in football (and basketball for that matter). UNLV simply dreams of going to a bowl game; we dream of continuing our winning streak and never again losing a bowl game!

    Your ought to be replaced by Boise State in the MWC. We would all be better off.

  27. Fast Cameron, Your intelligence is shown by your immaturity by not addressing someone by their correct name. So Tark and his era is what you are hanging your hat on? Wrong. Three of his stars are in the company of convicted amateur basketball fixer's company. All of them in Rich Perry's hot tub. Rich Perry was nominated for the Nevada black book. In another instance a highly recruited high school drop out went from the plane to a crack house where he was promptly arrested.Just in the last three years there have been no less then six student athletes arrested for major felonies, one was involved in auto thefts. You were still swinging on the jungle jim when some of these things took place and yet you know nothing of this trade scholl UNLV.
    patrick2278t, You seem to sufferf rom the same desease as others at UNLV you have not learned how to conduct yourself as an adult but insults and name calling make your juvenile points. For yeras UNLV called themselves a university when in fact they lack major schools of study to be included in the university group. I now of major employers who will discard a resume when a person mentions they have attended UNLV as well as law firms who laugh at the law school and their graduates. Once again do you have any idea how much money was spent investigating and defending the great fraud Tark in his glory years with his drop out criminal team? I think not? You are another who fails to recognise the damage Tark did to Las Vegas and how years later they still are the disgrace of amateur athletics. Do you have any idea how many jobs were lost at UNLV because of Tark? Why did UNLV officials turn on Tark and eventually force him out? You need to look at the facts and not some basketball score to prove up your failed trade school. It appears to me as if you are prone to insults and vulgarities so typical of someone without class or a decent raising. I have made more money betting against UNLV than any other school.
    I wonder why Metro hates the UNLV and UNR football games it must be because their fans have manners and class just like you?

  28. As a person with a doctorate from a Big Ten school forbid my grandchildren from attending the trade school for mis fits on Maryland Parkway. UNR is a decent school although severly underfunded it outshines the stink on Maryland Parkway. The death sentence should have been given to UNLV long ago. Sugarbowlchamps is right on UNLV is irrevelant and for the most part their fans seem to suffer from the diseases of these ignorant posters.

  29. One national chamionship with an asterisk next to it by a lying,cheating,self indulging,narcissistic, thug for a couch and two hundred years of amateur athleteics is beholding to the worst example of sportsmanship ever.

  30. Homer does not have a doctorate from a Big Ten school. He was rejected by the one school he applied to...his hometown school on Maryland Pkwy... hence his bitter tirades.

    That is a fact, based on my knowledge of Homer himself, which is equivalent to the amount of knowledge homer has about Jerry Tarkanian.

    I can say whatever I want about you, homer... a person I know nothing about. The same goes for you talking about Tark.

    You know absolutely nothing. You are sad sad little man, holding a bitter hatred for UNLV... A hatred that festers inside you eating away at your soul as your sad, decrpite and necrotic little body inches closer to the grave on your way to the fiery hell that awaits you.

    Hugs and kisses!!!!!

  31. 88th?

    I guess that's good considering it's UNLV. However, I am not sure that ranking is something to be proud of.

  32. 88th is acceptable to UNLV as a matter of fact it is remarkable. These are the same nit wits who no nothing of their man Tark.,Lloyd Danniels,the investigation by the NCAA, Bob Maxim and host of other issues. Most of them are not old enough or bright enough to have this knowledge or how to research it. They have no idea how the rest of the team resented Tarks kid Danny and how daddy played him ahead of superiour athletes.
    I am pleased to say I am retired now and accomplished everything I wanted with my life. As these nit wits BrandonRebelFan and Jeff go they really don't have a clue. The fact of the matter is the are not scholarship students and could not have been admitted to any other school than the toilet on Maryland Parkway.I would love to meet with them personally and discuss my accomplishments as compared to theirs. By reading their posts it is obvious they are spokespeople for the Rebel fans the rest of the country is sick of. Do some research boys find out who at UNLV turned on Tark and why he left as well as the type of recruits he went after.That is why today UNLV gets the recruits nobody else wants. If Jeff had a brain he would understand that other have universities have up to a two hundred year history and UNLV and their fans have no respect for real records or accomplishments. If the graduate school programs are so accomplished at UNLV why are the CEO's of major hotels not graduates of the hot bed of education at UNLV.Isn't hotel management their claim to fame? Or maybe Cornell is the real school of hotel management and business. As a matter of fact UNLV garduates are seldom heard from in upper management.Jeff you really need some mental health help. Down deep you know the 15 credit hours you have at UNLV will still not save you from your bus boy job.You are a petty, uneducated, sniveling underaccomplished loser.

  33. BrandonRebelFan I live in Summerlin and have since 1991. I have adult children who live in Summerlin as well.
    On second thought you are not old enough to know what went on in the early nineties. But once again if you had a brain you could pull up the archives of the Review Journal,Las Vegas Sun, Sports Illustrated or the investigation of the NCAA and know what the real facts were back then.
    Rather than insult please do your homework and then I will be glad to talk to you about Tark and his era.But lets keep my a-- out of it.Once again your immaturity and lack of control says a lot about you. Do the research and you will be surprised. And while you are it at throw in Wally Massamino and how he screwed UNLV,or UNLV screwed themselves.. I hired qualified people to make sure my corrsepondence was polished as well as to help with my other short comings. I still work very hard to understand computers,texting and host of other things younger people excel at today.I do have my short comings,grammar and spelling being a few. I owned two companies and treated my employees well. The Christmas parties were held at The Palmer House in Chicago. I have since retired and travel to the midwest on occasion.
    I do not enjoy trashing your beloved Rebels. it is a fact they have had more than their share of problems with violence at their events. I have friends who refuse to take their children and wives to the UNLV-UNRfootball game. Why is that? You know why.After all that is the jest of the news article.
    I am sorry to hear you hate people who disagree with you but it seems to be your motto.
    Now why don't you tell me what makes you qualified to disagree with one point I made about Tark and his era? These are things that happened before you were born or in grade school. Do the research and you will see why so many people allover this country do not respect UNLV athletics. I must admit it appears as if the AD and coaches are trying. I had my doubts about Kruger but he seems to be doing the right thing.

  34. "jungle jim" LOL. Thats not a grammatical error or an errant keystroke, thats just not knowing how to spell. Haha. Its really funny if you think about it. Who's "Jungle Jim" Homer?

  35. Wow, Homer you are one sick individual. You obviously have nothing better to do in your old age then bash UNLV. Is it boredom, senility, or bitterness for the exuberance that UNLV fans have for our beloved program?
    Seriously, though, the undeserved animosity and hatred that you show for UNLV as a university and the students who go there is a truly disgusting quality in a human being.
    I am currently a student here at UNLV and a National Merit Scholar and Presidential Scholar. I could have gone to any school in the country, including any Ivy League school, but I chose UNLV. Most students at UNLV work hard for their education and are simply looking for the chance to better themselves, so please leave the students out of this.

    The will to succeed in life comes from within, not which university you attend.

  36. Homer get a life. You act like living in Summerlin is something that gains automatic respect. I don't care where you went to school, what you do with applications, where your kids live etc. The fact that you are on this going back and forth with somebody shows that you have a major level of immaturity. Sounds like you are holding on the past just as much as the next guy with all your tark issues. Grow up man.

  37. Now that I got the homer irritation off my chest, lets talk the issues here. These two guys are money hungry idiots. I love the post that talked about BYU fans "deputizing" themselves. The rivalry is intense so there obviously is going to be issues. I go the the football game when it is in Provo and I go to the basketball game every year and there has not been one time where somebody hasn't threatened me. One year in Provo, the ushers were talking crap. Just because these pansies wouldn't get out of the way and got beat up, they want to sue??? I love how it says "may have" permanent injuries." These guys are a joke and a disgrace to BYU and the Church.
    On top of that, the laughing stock of the NCAA right now is the team that can't beat Texas A&M in the tournament.

  38. Homeless,

    "Fast Cameron, Your intelligence is shown by your immaturity by not addressing someone by their correct name."

    How ironic, since you can't even spell my name right. I was going to fire back...but....I can see that everyone else gets that you're a moron and they have taken care of the light weight.