Chapel Hill Basketball Players Agree to Deal in Battle Over Halloween Brawl
Posted April 26, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
CHAPEL HILL — Ed Cota and Terrence Newby are known as playmakers for UNC on the basketball court, but in a court of law, the two young men faced a different kind of press.
The assault case against Cota and Newby finally made it to court after numerous delays and continuances, including one granted because UNC made it to the Final Four.
Thursday's contest was over before it even began, though, as Cota and Newby agreed to a last-minute deal. The deal requires Cota and Newby to do community service and to share the cost of medical bills generated by a fight last fall.
In spite of the agreement, Cota and Newby maintain that they were just trying to break up the fight.
"In terms of Terrence and myself, we weren't involved in the fight. We were trying to break it up," Cota says.
Newby concurs. "We just stuck to the thing that we've said the whole time, which is that we were trying to break the fight up, and that's exactly what happened," he says.
Despite claiming they were trying to break up the fight, Cota and Newby were suspended from the basketball team for 10 days while the athletic department conducted its own investigation.
Cota says he is comfortable with the resolution. He says he wants to learn from the experience and move on.
And so does Newby. "I'm just glad it's over," he says. "I just want to apologize to the university for bringing all this negative attention to it and everything."
Newby also hopes the incident will not affect his teammate's future.
"Ed definitely right now doesn't need this hanging over his head," Newby says. "He's getting ready for the draft and everything, and that was the main reason to get it over with, [to] get Ed out of the system, because I definitely don't want this to hurt his chances of playing at the next level."
The assault charges against the pair will be dropped next month if they meet the conditions of the agreement. They will also have nothing on their records.
The people who filed the charges say they are satisfied with the deal, but they stick by their assertion that the former players were involved in the fight and did not just try to end it.
"Justice was not served," says victim Godwin Ogunmefun, who received 18 stitches as a result of the fight.
"I mean the past six months we've, excuse my language, we've gone through hell in the last six months. I mean, you know, our peers have seen us as -- has seen us -- they thought we were liars," he says. "I mean we couldn't leave our rooms for many months. We've gone through a lot."
"But I just have to move on. There's no point to living in the past," he says. "I have finals I have to worry about. My friends have finals they have to worry about. We're not going to let this overtake our lives. It's already taken six months of our lives. It is time to move on."
Two other people involved in the incident have pleaded guilty to assault charges.