Pinecrest, Union Pines barred from state playoffs, on probation
Posted September 2, 2010
The Pinecrest and Union Pines football teams have been barred from the N.C. High School Athletic Association state playoffs.
The NCHSAA reached the decision Thursday after both schools completed their own reviews of a brawl on the field Aug. 27.
Both teams each had three players ejected from the game after a brawl broke out.
The brawl, which caused both benches to clear, happened during a kickoff in the second quarter, according to Kellum Fipps, the booking agent for the Southeastern Officials Association. Fipps said while the ball was in the air, something happened near midfield that sparked the incident.
In addition to being barred from the playoffs, the two schools will be fined $1,000 for players leaving the bench area during a fight. Each player ejected will serve a two game suspension and the programs have been put on probation by the NCHSAA.
"NCHSAA probation is nothing like NCAA probation," said Associate Commissioner Rick Strunk. "This is a common practice that we do so that the schools are aware. If something similar happens again, we will look at the totality of the incident."
Moore County Schools disciplined individual players that were not ejected by officials who also took part in the brawl. The system did not say how many players were involved.
David Whtifield, the Commissioner of the NCHSAA, expressed his appreciation to the schools for their cooperation in conducting through investigations.
"To date, both teams have completed or are in the process of completing the STAR Sportsmanship program, and both schools have taken several additional steps," Whitfield said. "The NCHSAA supports these additional actions taken by the schools."
The STAR Sportsmanship program is an online program that teaches the fundamentals of sportsmanship. Any NCHSAA coach or athlete who is ejected must take part in the course.
Audio has been released by Moore Sports Radio in which the play-by-play announcer says helmets are removed during the brawl.
On Tuesday, video of the incident surfaced.
Tim Lussier, spokesman for Moore County Schools, said Wednesday that the video was turned over to the NCHSAA by a fan. The two high schools had both stated they did not have video of the incident.
The video has not been released to the public.
Dr. Susan Purser, superintendent of the Moore County Schools, said “The altercation between teams that occurred in last Friday’s game between Pinecrest and Union Pines is both unfortunate and regrettable.”
Pinecrest and Union Pines are rival schools in Moore County. Pinecrest won the game 69-14.
Purser said the school system began discussions as soon as the game ended about how to address sportsmanship.
"Our charge is to lead and model appropriate behavior in all situations, and Friday evening's incident is not indicative of the conduct we expect or what we hope to accomplish through our athletic programs," Purser said. "However, it is essential that we learn from such situations and see them as opportunities to grow and do better in the future."