Prior to the Ball State men's basketball game Saturday, it was announced that senior guard Jeremie Tyler was dismissed from the team.
The reason for dismissal was because of "a violation of team rules," according to the press release, which was given to the media before the game. Tyler had previously been suspended three different times in his Ball State career, including earlier this season where he missed three games for the same reason.
Following Ball State's 111-106 double overtime win against Akron, head coach James Whitford had this to say:
"I'm not going to get into the details of it other than to say, I love Jeremie to death. It's not an easy decision but, you know, it's just one that I have to run the program in a way that both gives opportunities to guys that change to be the most successful they can but also as consistent with the integrity and culture that we want to have.
"... I love him to death and we all wish him the best, but it was the right thing to do."
Whitford also commended his team's resiliency and ability to move forward despite off-the-court issues. The dismissal of Tyler marks the third instance in the past year the men's basketball team has lost a teammate, the other include the arrest of Jontrell Walker and the death of Zach Hollywood in August.
Junior guard Tayler Persons, one of the team's leaders, said that while the season has been tough to deal with, the teams goal is still to be successful in the conference tournament come March.
"Obviously we can't deny that it's hurt us," Persons said. It's something that, in the locker room, as a team that we've noticed. But, you know, we've been through a lot of stuff man, so I feel like our group is strong enough and we can come back through anything.
"... We know how good we can be, but it's tough losing teammates like that. We've lost three teammates in a year, so it's crazy to think about, but we believe in our coach and he keeps that message to get better every day."
During his four year career, Tyler appeared in 79 games, averaging 8.9 points per game. After working his way back into the rotation following his suspension earlier this season, Tyler had three double digit games this season.
Finding a replacement for Tyler remains the key for now for the eight man rotation that was once up to 10. In Tyler's absence, redshirt sophomore Josh Thompson saw action for just the fifth time this season, playing seven minutes and picking up a steal. Comparatively, Senior guard Francis Kiapway played just five minutes in the game.