The CIAA banned Virginia State football team from the postseason after one of its players was arrested for his role in the savage attack of the Winston-Salem quarterback during a Friday football banquet
If you missed the story, here’s what happened. On Friday both teams attended a football banquet on the campus of Winston-Salem, where the championship game between the teams was scheduled for Saturday.
Winston-Salem quarterback Rudy Johnson, who earlier on Friday was named to the CIAA’s first team, went to the bathroom during the banquet when he was reportedly jumped by five Virginia State players. Virginia State running back Lamont Darnell Britt, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.
Both teams are 9-1.
Both teams are nationally ranked in the Division II polls (Winston-Salem is 9th, and Virginia State is 22).
Both teams had a shot at the Division II playoffs, As it stands now Winston-Salem, which played in the Division II national championship game last year, is definitely in.
And Virginia State now has seen its season end with the lingering thought of “what if.”
With that act of extreme stupidity carried out by a small group of Virginia State players, we pose 5 questions:
- Was Johnson, who just before the attack was announced as the CIAA’s first team quarterback, roughed up because he was 9-0 as a starter and the Virginia State players feared him?
- Were the players who carried out the attack ordered to jump Johnson, or did they go rogue?
- As college educated young men, did they actually think they could get away with it?
- Was it suggested in the Virginia State locker room that if we can’t beat them (Winston-Salem), beat him (Johnson)?
- Do the young men who carried out the attack actually think about what impact this will have on their own future?
With this story, there are many losers:
- The CIAA, poised to send two teams into the national Division II tournament, now send only one—and the league carries the taint of one of the most bizarre sports stories of the year. It’s so bad, that Olivia Pope could do little to help with this mess.
- The city of Winston-Salem, looking to fill its hotels and local restaurants with football fans eager to celebrate a championship weekend, instead took a huge financial hit.
- The Virginia State players who did not take part in the bathroom brawl. For the seniors, their season is done. No shot at a CIAA title. No shot at a NCAA tournament.
On Saturday, Virginia State President Keith T. Miller issued this statement:
Virginia State University has indefinitely suspended a member of the VSU football team. Further, VSU will pursue a thorough internal investigation into Friday’s incident of which the findings and recommendations will be reported directly to me. We will include both students and alumni in this internal investigation process. Based on the report, further disciplinary action may be forthcoming. Playing on a VSU athletic team is a privilege. Student-athletes who fail to live up to the ideals of our institution will forfeit that privilege. We have a zero tolerance policy toward acts of violence, on or off campus, and we take that policy very seriously.
From President Miller, the message has been sent. From the internal investigation, the hammer should drop heavily.