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Tuesday, December 2, 2003
Post-fight apology, no suspensions

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State officials have apologized for a postgame fight following the Seminoles' 38-34 victory over Florida.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley accepted the apology and said Tuesday that he and Florida State counterpart Dave Hart would make a decision on whether to use neutral officials in future games.

"He apologized that some of his guys jumped on the logos," Foley said, referring to Florida State's postgame celebration of the victory on Saturday in Gainesville. "Both teams have to accept responsibilities for the fight."

Hart apologized Monday for his team's midfield dance on the Gators' emblem, which sparked the ensuing melee. He pledged that measures will be put in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"Yes, you should celebrate -- no question in a game like that -- but not at the expense of disrespecting the opponent, who also played their heart out," Hart said. "That's a part of winning with class. We'll make certain that that does not re-occur."

Neither school plans to suspend players involved in the nationally televised melee.

Hart has said he is opposed to using an officiating crew from a neutral conference during the annual game, something Foley wants to consider. Florida State benefited from several disputed calls in the game officiated by a crew from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Florida State is in the ACC.

Hart said using a neutral-conference crew would send a bad message to ACC and Southeastern Conference officials, adding that other leagues would have their top crews lined up for their own games. The agreement between Florida and Florida State stipulates the conference of the visiting team provides the officials.

The current contract expires after next year's game, and Hart said he would be willing to discuss the issue further with Foley.

"There is no urgency here," Foley said, noting they would talk after the first of the year. "But it obviously bears discussion."