Photo Caption: Boo Jackson has helped lead Ohio to a 5-1 record in the MAC, and in contention for a MAC championship.
A release from Lt. Randy Gray of the Athens Police, sent out late Sunday afternoon, confirmed that on Friday evening, officers called to respond to a fight found Jackson unconscious on the North Court Street side of the Courtside Pizza & Sports Bar in uptown Athens.
Jackson had a small amount of blood in his mouth from a cut lip, but "was conscious and talking" by the time an ambulance arrived, the release said. He was transported to O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, then later to Grant Medical Center.
Over the weekend Ohio Athletics spokesman Jason Corriher would confirm only that Jackson was released from Grant Saturday after being treated for facial injuries suffered Friday night. Monday morning, however, Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich, in the weekly MAC teleconference, listed Jackson as "questionable" for the Nov. 16 game at Temple. This means that his chances of playing are 50-50. An update may be given at Solich's weekly press conference on Wednesday.
The release said police think the fight started when "several members of the football team attempted to rush the south door of the bar in an effort to gain entrance for one or more people who were either underage or had no identification."
Bar employees pushed the group back out the door, but the outside group then went to the east door and again tried to push their way in, police allege.
While bar staff were attempting to keep the group from gaining entry without proper identification, someone began throwing punches," Gray's release said. "This led to a brawl at the east entrance of the bar. Officers were not able to determine who threw the first punch so no charges were filed. When the investigation is concluded the case will be presented to the city prosecutor for a final determination in regard to any charges."
Gray told the OU Post on Sunday that he doubts any charges will result from the fracas.
Police had no further information on the extent of Jackson's injuries as of Sunday.
However, an Ohio football player who was present during the altercation told the OU student news-site speakeasymag.com that the senior quarterback suffered a bone fracture above his eyelid, and the player believes Jackson may be done for the season.
"Boo has a bone fractured above his eyelid..." said the player, who asked not to be identified because of team rules and the sensitivity of the subject. "I saw a picture of Boo. He had a neck (brace)."
None of the medical information has been confirmed, however, and Jackson's listing as questionable for the Nov. 16 game suggests the injury is less serious than what was described by the anonymous player.
On his Facebook "wall" early Sunday evening, Jackson wrote, "Just letting you all know that I am good. Relaxin' at the house now. Thanks for all the concern and love."
THE ANONYMOUS PLAYER ALSO gave a somewhat different version of events from the police account, including what may have precipitated the altercation.
The player said that Jackson's 29-year-old brother, Will Jackson, tried to get a 20-year-old friend into Courtside Friday night. When the bouncer denied his friend access, the player said, Will Jackson began to argue with the bouncer.
"(Will and the bouncer) went outside," the player continued. "Boo was inside, and by the time he saw them go outside, Will had already got hit and was laying on the ground."
When Boo Jackson came outside and tried to break up the fight, the player recounted, the bouncer interpreted his attempts at peace as a threat, and began to swing.
After Boo Jackson was hit for the first time, the player said, the scene got even uglier.
"Boo tried to step in between them and break it up, but more people came in and kept hitting Boo. That's when he went down and didn't get back up," the player said. "(When other players got there), Boo was already unconscious and on the ground and Will was on his knees."
The player noted, "(Boo) was just trying to break it up. I guess the guy thought Boo was about to hit him. Boo didn't do anything. Boo didn't throw (a punch)."
The player identified the Courtside employee who apparently caused the most damage as a former OU student, who was not initially present at the fight. He was working the bar on the opposite end of the parking lot where the fight took place.
"Whenever the bartender went back in, he was in the front side of Courtside. (The fight) happened on the side, so I don't know where the bartender came from," the player said.
After Athens Police were dispatched to the scene, the player continued, they questioned the bartender/bouncer who allegedly struck Boo Jackson, and then released him to finish his shift.
The player said the bartender in question had a confrontation with an Ohio linebacker last year in which the bartender knocked the linebacker unconscious with a punch. Athens County Municipal Court does not have record of the incident, but other sources have confirmed the story. (The Athens NEWS is not identifying the bartender/bouncer who allegedly struck Boo Jackson until it has more information, including criminal charges, if any.)
When players got word of Boo Jackson's injuries, as many as 30 players rushed to Courtside to intervene, the player said.
"At the beginning, it was probably about five there. By the time it ended, there were probably about 20 to 30," the player said.
Ohio Head Coach Solich was alerted by the police, according to the player. He reportedly accompanied Boo Jackson to O'Bleness Hospital via ambulance.
The player confirmed that the Ohio coaching staff declared that no Bobcat football players were permitted to go out the night after the fight. Ohio reportedly scheduled a team meeting Sunday morning to discuss the situation.
Courtside had no comment on the incident. An anonymous employee said that owner David Cornwall instructed all employees not to say anything regarding the Jackson situation.
The APD release recounted that after Boo Jackson was taken to the hospital, and officers had questioned witnesses, "there was still a large group of people in the area. Many within the group were still very upset. Officers talked to one of the team captains who began collecting team members and sending them home. (Coach Solich) also arrived at the scene and helped collect and calm team members. There was no further problem between football players and bar staff that evening."
Editor's note: Part of this article comes from a story that was posted to www.speakeasymag.com over the weekend, by the student news site's editor in chief Nick Piotrowicz. We edited and modified material from that article before publication, with the author's permission. The police report and other details were added Monday morning by our staff.