Winston-Salem St. University files formal complaint against VSU

Posted at 3:52 PM, Dec 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-05 18:21:49-05

ETTRICK, Va. (WTVR) - Winston-Salem State University has filed a formal complaint with the NCAA and CIAA against Virginia State University in the wake of the fight on WSSU's campus the day before they were to host the CIAA Football Championship.

WSSU quarterback Rudy Johnson was assaulted in a bathroom during a banquet for the championship game. One player, VSU running back Lamont Britt, was arrested and charged with assault.

The CIAA title game was cancelled and VSU did not go to the playoffs.

In the complaint, filed November 21, WSSU president Donald Reaves alleged that multiple VSU players assaulted Johnson with the intent to create a competitive advantage in the title game.

He also chastised VSU for leaving their football team "under the supervision of a head coach with a criminal record," and not having the school president, athletic director or a senior administrator present.

WSSU is seeking sanctions against VSU including forfeiture of the cancelled CIAA title game, a censure of VSU head coach Latrell Scott, and financial sanctions to reimburse WSSU for loss of income and revenue due to the cancellation of the championship game.

The following is the letter in full from WSSU President Reaves to the NCAA and CIAA:

Dear Vice President Steeb-Gronau and Commissioner Carpenter:

This letter serves as a formal complaint against Virginia State University ("VSU"), a Division II member, for the failure ofVSU, its staff members and certain of its student athletes, to conform to the obligations of membership in the NCAA and CIAA.  Winston­ Salem State University's ("WSSU") preliminary investigation, which is still ongoing, reveals that as many as five (5) Virginia State University football players assaulted Rudy Johnson, the starting quarterback for WSSU, in the bathroom on the WSSU campus during the CIAA Championship Luncheon on Friday, November 15, 2013.  We believe that the actions of Virginia State University and VSU student athletes, along with the apparent failure of VSU staff members and coaches to properly supervise and constrain VSU student athletes, likely constitute major violations of NCAA and CIAA rules. Accordingly, WSSU requests a full investigation of this matter and, depending on the outcome of the investigation, imposition of appropriate penalties to address any violations of NCAA rules.

The results ofWSSU's preliminary investigation suggests that one or more VSU student athletes attempted to create an extensive competitive advantage by eliminating the starting quarterback from championship competition  play, thereby increasing Virginia State University's chances for a victory and a guaranteed berth to the Division II postseason championship playoffs.  WSSU's  investigation has also revealed that Virginia State University appears to have failed to maintain adequate control over its players, in that Virginia State University's 55 players traveled to Winston-Salem unaccompanied by VSU's President, its Athletic Director, or a senior administrator.  Rather, VSU's student­ athletes were left under the supervision of a head coach with a criminal record. (See criminal record attached.)  Based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the violent attack on WSSU's quarterback, it is apparent that the assault may not have occurred if VSU had taken reasonable, necessary and prudent steps to appropriately supervise its student-athletes.

Winston-Salem State pledges its full cooperation to the investigation and expects the same from Virginia State University, in accordance with NCAA rules. In light of the circumstances, including the ancillary damages, WSSU requests that:

1.  the NCAA and CIAA launch a full investigation into the incident; and

2.   the NCAA and CIAA require full cooperation from all entities, including Virginia

State University, its staff, coaches and student athletes, consistent with NCAA

and conference rules.

Based on the results of the investigation, WSSU requests imposition of any and all appropriate team and/or individual sanctions including, but not limited to, the following:

1.  CIAA declare that the actions of Virginia State University shall result in a forfeiture of the CIAA Championship  football game;

2.   CIAA officially declare Winston-Salem State University as the CIAA Champions,

with all of the rights and privileges afforded thereto;

3.   NCAA and CIAA impose financial sanctions solely against Virginia State University for loss of income, revenue, and preparation costs to Winston-Salem State University, the host institution;

4.   NCAA and CIAA censure Coach Latrell Scott for his irresponsible comments relating to the assault, and for his lack of professional decorum during the height of the melee, and his refusal to obey the order of a police official;

5.   NCAA and CIAA impose team and/or individual penalties, in addition to the

2013 ban from postseason play, against Virginia State University, commensurate with the egregious actions of its players, up to and including probation, loss of scholarships, and an additional ban of future postseason play; and

6.   NCAA and CIAA order Virginia State University to cover all medical costs related to the injuries sustained  by Rudy Johnson as a direct result of being assaulted by Virginia State University football players.

Winston-Salem State University's investigation into this matter will continue and I want to reiterate our commitment to cooperating with both the NCAA and the CIAA.


Donald Julian Reaves, Ph.D.