NCCU, A&T Chancellors: No Decision Yet on Future of Football Series
The chancellors from N.C. Central and North Carolina A&T say they are continuing to investigate Saturday's melee after the NCCU victory.Posted — Updated
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.
"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.
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