Prep basketball fights could keep teams, players from postseason
The first incident comes from South Carolina, where 12 players — six from each team — were ejected from Friday’s girls basketball game between Timberland and Andrews. One player reportedly hit another, followed by teammates who joined the fray. Some left the bench to join the fight.That same night in North Carolina, a boys basketball game between Salisbury and North Rowan was stopped after the third quarter when a benches-clearing brawl broke out. One player hit an opponent in the face, and the situation quickly escalated. Both teams could be barred from participating in the conference tournament.
“It’s truly sad,” North coach Andrew Mitchell told the Salisbury Post. His team was credited with a victory and completed an unblemished conference season. “My guys know they’re not supposed to come off the bench. The rule is the rule, but there needed to be some kind of containment of the fans.”
Mitchell is right, and that’s one of the overlooked aspects of both incidents. According to media reports, spectators at both games left the stands and joined the fight. This was a common occurrence in several altercations at games this winter, and schools or state associations need to step in and do something about it.
Our editorial in February’s issue of Coach & Athletic Director examines the problem of fan involvement a little more in depth. It’s difficult to argue that schools need to hire more security to keep games safe, but perhaps they can improve player and fan safety by implementing an automatic one-year ban for any spectator who leaves the stands for the field or court. If something is not done, it’s only a matter of time before players or coaches are attacked by an individual who has no business being involved.
Stay tuned for more on this topic.