George Clinkscale dies after match

Updated: September 22, 2011, 6:45 PM ET
Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. -- Former Tulsa linebacker George Clinkscale died Wednesday after taking part in an unsanctioned boxing match. He was 24.

Joe Miller, director of the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, said Thursday that Clinkscale took part in the bout late Wednesday at a Tulsa-area church. Miller says witnesses described Clinkscale becoming ill during the fight and he was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Clinkscale, who was a linebacker for the Golden Hurricane from 2005 to 2009, was billed as the main event at Fight Night VI sponsored by GUTS Church.

Miller says the results of the OSAC's investigation will be turned over to the state attorney general's office because the event was not sanctioned.

"It's an illegal event, it's not sanctioned by the commission," Miller said. "They're running outside the law."

Miller said if the event had been sanctioned, there would have several experts on hand, such as qualified referees, medics and doctors.

"I really hope this opens up some eyes," Miller said.

Coaches remembered Clinkscale for his achievements on and off the field.

"George was much too young to be taken from us. He was an extremely passionate and bright young man who will be greatly missed and long remembered by his teammates and coaches," Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said. "The thing I was most excited about in George's life right now was how tremendously excited he was to be a father. He was passionate about working as a football coach and how much he could make a difference with those young men. It's a tragic loss for all of us."

Pittsburgh coach Todd Graham, who recruited Clinkscale while he was still coach at Tulsa, called his former recruit "one of the most passionate young men I've ever met."

"Although it is a sad day, we can find comfort and hope knowing that George is in a better place because of his strong faith," Graham said.

At Tulsa, Clinkscale played and started all 12 games as a senior in 2009 and was credited with 34 tackles. He earned his degree in exercise sports science.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press