Local News

NCCU, A&T Chancellors: No Decision Yet on Future of Football Series

Posted September 26, 2007 12:29 p.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2007 9:38 p.m. EDT

— The chancellors from North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T State universities said the brawl after Saturday’s football game between the two schools cannot be tolerated, but they stopped short of saying the series between the two rivals would not resume.

The two teams met at midfield after N.C. Central’s 27-22 victory Saturday and a brawl broke out. Police subdued it.

“The behavior was reprehensible, irresponsible, abhorrent and not in keeping with the qualities of our institutions,” N.C. Central Chancellor Charlie Nelms said.

"It hurts me for two African-American males to stand before you and talk about a fight, because we're bigger than that," A&T Chancellor Stanley Battle said.

"However, when our students make mistakes, we deal with it."

The chancellors stopped short of saying the 2008 game scheduled for Durham would not be held. The two longtime rivals used to play in Raleigh, at Carter-Finley Stadium, until 2006.

Saturday’s game turned into a brawl as Central players took the field after the game and stomped on the Aggies’ Bulldog logo at midfield. N.C. Central has suspended one player for this week’s home game against Presbyterian.

"Who started the fight is not the central issue," Nelms said. "We both agree it was wrong."

Coaches were unable to stop the melee, and after several minutes at least one police officer from Central used pepper spray to break it up. The schools said nobody was hurt.

"We will also look at what led up to it and try to make an intelligent decision," Battle said. "But I will not bury any of my kids. I will not give up on them because they've made a mistake."

Both chancellors said they will continue to review videotapes of the incident; are talking to coaches, players and spectators as part of their investigation, and further punishments could follow. Battle said there was no timetable for completing the probe.

"We're not going to rush," Battle said. "Neither one of us are under any pressure whatsoever to rush. Clearly, this is extremely important to our institutions, and we want to make sure it never happens again. So when we decide, we need to really take some time to look at appropriate steps, protocol, lines of engagement."

NCCU is playing its first season in Division I as an independent after moving up from Division II. A&T is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference of Division I's Championship Subdivision.

The Eagles have expressed interest in joining the MEAC, the league they helped found in the 1970s. But MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas has told WRAL his league has a moratorium on expansion.