IHSAA cancels seasons for Pike, Ben Davis varsity girls basketball teams after fight

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 18, 2016)-- The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) canceled the remainder of the 2015-16 season for Pike High School and Ben Davis High School's varsity girls basketball teams.  Both programs will also have to sit out the state tournament.

The punishment came after a fight broke out between the two teams on court Saturday. The benches were cleared and fans rushed onto the court.

"I know that everyone has seen the video and there is going to be the day that somebody gets catastrophically injured," Said IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox.

The video posted to social media shows a player getting fouled and then moments later the brawl begins.  Cox says the game was very physical leading up to the incident.  Both teams will have to forfeit the outcome of the game.

"It was an event that was unacceptable,it was egregious, it was violent and it has been dealt with," said Cox.

The players involved will participate in a sportsmanship class and the coaches will be required to take a behavior and role model course.  Both programs will also be on probation during the 2016-2017 seasons.

It will be up to Pike and Ben Davis administrators to discipline individual players.  A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township told FOX59 through email that the school plans on accepting the sanctions.

"We will comply with the consequences we've received from the IHSAA."

A similar brawl occurred in Feb. 2015 between the boys basketball teams of Hammond and Griffith High Schools.  The incident was caught on camera and the IHSAA ended both of their seasons and banned them from the state tournament.

However, those schools filed a lawsuit against the IHSAA and a judge allowed the teams to participate in the tournament.

It is unknown if the schools involved in the fight from Saturday will go to court.

"If we end up having to fight this fight like we did last year we are going to fight it," said Cox.

The IHSAA handed down the following sanctions Monday, as stated in a press release:

  • Both member schools have been suspended from participation in next month’s IHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament. Class 4A, Sectional 11, hosted by Decatur Central, shall be redesigned as a four‐team tournament. Ben Davis and Pike high schools shall not receive any sectional tournament revenue from this year’s tournament.
  • Remaining regular season contests at the varsity level are cancelled. Junior varsity and freshmen contests may be played with any remaining players that were not in attendance at Saturday’s varsity game or can positively be identified by the school administrations as not leaving the bench area.
  • The contest between the two schools of Saturday, January 16, 2016 shall stand as a double forfeit.
  •  Each basketball coach (paid and voluntary) from both schools shall complete the Teaching and Modeling Behavior course available on the NFHSLearn.com website. A coach failing to meet this requirement shall not be allowed to coach in an interscholastic contest until fulfillment of this mandate. Both schools shall produce the certificates of completion of these courses to the Commissioner for inspection.
  • Each student‐athlete, varsity or junior varsity present at this contest from both schools shall complete the Sportsmanship course found on the NFHSLearn.com website. A student‐athlete failing to meet this requirement shall be ineligible for any interscholastic participation until this requirement is fulfilled. Both schools shall produce the respective certificates of completion for these courses to the Commissioner for inspection.
  • It is also strongly encouraged that all remaining girls basketball players in both programs complete the Sportsmanship course found on the NFHSLearn.com website.
  • Both school’s girls basketball teams shall be placed on probation for the entire 2016‐17 school year. This probation is a severe type of warning. It is official notice that serious violations have occurred, are a matter of record and future, similar incidents will not be tolerated. Failure to adhere to the stated by‐laws of this corporation and/or playing rules provided by the IHSAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) may result in additional penalties including, but not limited to, an entire school suspension of membership from the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc.
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