INDIANAPOLIS (21Alive) - Fort Wayne Community Schools issued a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding the Indiana High School Athletic Association's decision to levy penalties against both schools whose football teams were involved in a brawl Friday night.
We believe IHSAA officials were deliberate in their review of the events that took place Friday night and believe we were treated fairly. It is unfortunate that such an investigation ever had to take place, and we expect adults to serve as leaders for our student athletes. Had the adults on the field during the game taken control, the outcome would have been different. Prior to the IHSAA's decision, South Side had already begun putting in place a plan to address sportsmanship and appropriate behavior with the coaching staff, athletes and parents. This will serve as a learning experience for those involved, as well as a reminder for all student athletes, that we expect good sportsmanship by all members of our teams.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association has levied penalties against South Side High School and Indianapolis Arsenal Tech High School following a brawl Friday night between the schools' football teams.
IHSAA officials met with administrators from South Side and Arsenal Tech on Tuesday to review the second half brawl, and issued the following sanctions:
(To see the entire IHSAA statement, click here)
"There's not an instigator," IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox says. "You could blame anyone you want, but that's not the issue. Placing blame doesn't solve our issues with sportsmanship. What we need to do is figure out why these things occur, as opposed to pointing the finger and blaming individuals or groups of individuals, and then educate."
Additionally, South Side administrators will meet with football players' parents Thursday night to further discuss the ramifications of the fight.
Arsenal Tech administrators have already met will with team parents since Friday, Cox says.
"I'm very proud of our schools in what they've done so far in such short notice," he adds.
The game Friday night ended with a brawl between players, coaches and fans that started after what appeared to be a late tackle by a South Side defensive player on a Arsenal Tech offensive player near the end of the third quarter.
"It was a hard play out of bounds that escalated into an event that shouldn't have occurred," Cox says. "There's no excuse for it. We certainly don't condone it. But at the same time, you have to know that 15- to 18-year-old kids are going to play with emotion."
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was called in to calm the situation, and the game was called off with Arsenal Tech leading 24-6.
Cox says the IHSAA ultimately allowed both teams to play out the season to be fair to the opponents, and to uphold the integrity of the sectionals.
South Side closes out the regular season with Wayne, North Side and Garry Wallace high schools. Arsenal Tech has Dayton Dunbar, Indianapolis Cathedral and Indianapolis Bishop Chatard high schools to close out their schedule. Cox says IHSAA officials will be at each game to monitor conduct of the teams.
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