BOZEMAN — While Montana State University has spent this week celebrating their 40-7 win over Northern Colorado, the Bears have been trying to salvage their reputation after an incident went down on their sideline.
“On Saturday we received a report in reference to a spectator being struck with an object," MSU police chief Kevin Gillilan said. "It was a male subject probably in their 60s who had been struck with a piece of a clipboard in the jaw.”
The broken clipboard came from offensive coordinator Max McCaffrey, son of former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, UNC's head coach.
“We ran back the video surveillance from the stadium, and it appeared as though an assistant coach was on the sideline, became upset, and broke the clipboard," Gillilan added. "Half of the clipboard fell on the ground, and the other piece of the clipboard - it appeared as the coach tried to toss it underhand towards the bench area. For whatever reason it sailed into the stands and struck the fan.”
The fan was sitting nine rows up and required medical attention.
Northern Colorado released this statement on Tuesday alluding that McCaffrey tried tossing the broken clipboard to a fan who requested the souvenir and that there was no intent to harm nor was the action fueled by anger.
While Coach Max McCaffrey’s tossing of a souvenir into the stands showed poor judgment, it was clear there was no intent to harm nor was the action fueled by anger. Max is embarrassed by the incident and is working privately to apologize to the fan hit by the errant toss. After visiting with Max and the entire football staff, I am confident we will have no further engagement with fans of our opponents.
However, Gillilan disagrees.
“We have heard from bystanders that there was a possibility that the fan was heckling the coach," Gillilan said. "From watching the video, we’re unable to determine whether this was an intentional act or simply an accident. I would say the distance between the fan and the coach would make it unlikely that it was a request for a souvenir.”
The fan does not want to press charges at this time, but is hoping for an apology from McCaffrey, which Northern Colorado says he is working on issuing privately.
“The case is currently reflected on our daily crime log as an assault," Gillilan said. "That case will remain open until the statute of limitations expires.”
Gillilan also said Montana State plans on reporting the incident to the NCAA. MTN Sports reached out to the MSU athletic department for a statement, but they declined to comment.