CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A bathroom fight Friday among football players from Winston-Salem State and Virginia State during a CIAA championship game luncheon left the WSSU quarterback beaten and charges filed against a player from the other team.
The conference announced that the title game set for Saturday in Winston-Salem in North Carolina has been canceled.
Rudy Johnson, the starting quarterback for the Rams, was “viciously beaten” by members of the Virginia State team, Winston-Salem State Chancellor Donald Reaves said in a statement. He said one Virginia State player admitted his role in the beating.
School spokeswoman Nancy Young identified the suspect as 22-year-old Lamont Daniel Britt. A Forsyth County jail official says Britt, a running back from Portsmouth, Va., was being held there Friday night on a charge of misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury.
“There is no excuse for the behavior of the Virginia State players,” Reaves said.
Young said Johnson was assaulted in the bathroom at the Anderson Conference Center on the Winston-Salem campus during the luncheon.
“Today’s event was supposed to be a celebration for both teams and for all the players who were being recognized for an outstanding season,” Reaves said. “The actions from the Virginia State players certainly changed the outcome for everyone.”
Virginia State Athletic Director Peggy Davis didn’t return a phone call seeking comment, but the school issued a statement on its website saying it is fully cooperating with the CIAA in its investigation and couldn’t comment further.
Both Winston-Salem State Rams and Virginia State Trojans are 9-1. The Rams lost to Valdosta State in the NCAA Division II championship game last year, and both teams were in position to earn postseason berths this season.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported that five Virginia State players were involved and Reaves said university police are trying to identify the others.
One of Johnson’s teammates told the newspaper that “Rudy was beaten up bad and he can’t play.”