|Rudy Johnson led WSSU to a 9-0 record as a starter in the regular season. (Garrett Garms/WSSU photo)|
The CIAA had big plans for its football championship game this year, but those plans appear to have been for nothing. Hours after reports surfaced of an altercation between Winston-Salem State and Virginia State players, the championship game has been cancelled, according to multiple sources.
WSSU quarterback Rudy Johnson allegedly suffered an eye injury after being assaulted by members of the VSU football team. VSU coach Latrell Scott earlier proclaimed the reports were not true. Despite his statement, Virginia State running back Lamont Britt has reportedly been arrested.
VSU head coach Latrell Scott says in text message that report of VSU players beating up WSSU quarterback is “not true”
— Marc Davis (@marcdavissports) November 15, 2013
WSSU Chancellor Donald Reeves confirmed that Johnson was injured in the incident.
“We don’t know a lot of what happened but we do know our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was beaten up,” WSSU Chancellor Donald Reaves told the Winston-Salem Journal. “And he didn’t beat himself up.”
The CIAA later released a statement on the game.
“We understand that some Virginia State University and Winston-Salem State University student-athletes were involved in an incident during the time of today’s luncheon event. The police are currently investigating the incident and are specking with the individuals involved. Leadership from the CIAA and the participating institutions are fully cooperating. Further details and updates regarding the status of the championship game will be forthcoming”
The incident reportedly happened in a bathroom on the campus of WSSU during a CIAA luncheon. The championship game was to be played at Bowman Gray Stadium, WSSU’s home stadium.
Update: The CIAA has issued a statement.
CIAA Statement Regarding the Cancellation of This Weekend’s Championships November 15, 2013, 6:55 p.m. EST – Based on the incident that occurred today, and after consulting with the leadership of each institution and the Football and Volleyball championship committees, the CIAA is saddened to announce that this weekend’s Football and Volleyball conference championships that were scheduled to take place in Winston-Salem have been canceled.
On the eve of such an important weekend for dozens of our student-athletes, many of whom have waited a lifetime for such a moment, we are left to focus instead on what might have been. Our singular focus is on the safety and security of the CIAA’s student-athletes and those who follow them. It is important that everyone involved in the CIAA embody our mission every day by acting as upstanding individuals on and off the field.
We must work together to hold each other to higher standards of responsible judgment and conduct because we must demand that if we are to succeed. We did not make this decision lightly, as its impact is far and wide – affecting our student-athletes, alumni, fans, sponsors and more. But the CIAA has long had policies to encourage responsible behavior, and must consider what is necessary to assure days like today are not repeated, ever.
We will cooperate fully with the NCAA as it relates to its upcoming Division II national championships. Ticket holders for the Championship Game should contact the place of purchase for a refund on their tickets. Ticketholders who specifically purchased their tickets through TicketMaster will automatically receive a refund.
Jacqie Carpenter CIAA Commissioner
The aftermath of the 2013 CIAA Championship Game resulted in Virginia State being left out of the Division II playoffs, while Winston-Salem State went on to host a home playoff game before losing to Shepherd on the road in the second round. Virginia State would go on to win the 2014 CIAA Championship Game over WSSU.