One student involved in ‘spontaneous’ football fight, VSU investigation finds

Posted at 1:45 PM, Feb 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-04 00:07:02-05

ETTRICK, Va. (WTVR) - Nearly three months after a fight during the CIAA Championship Luncheon prematurely ended Virginia State University's football season, the university released the results of its investigation into what happened that day in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

There are three investigations taking place in connection with the incident. One of them is being conducted by Winston Salem State University, another by VSU, and one more by the CIAA.

The investigation report released Monday by VSU tells a different story from Winston Salem State University’s preliminary investigation about what happened inside a bathroom on the campus of WSSU on November 15th.

[Click here to read full results of Virginia State University's football fight investigation]

VSU hired Washington attorney Robert Clayton to conduct its investigation.

“We vowed to be fully cooperative with him no matter what he found,” VSU spokesman Tom Reed said.

Based on interviews with student-athletes and others in attendance at the CIAA luncheon, Clayton's investigation determined:

  • WSSU police questioned four VSU student-athletes and found cause to arrest only one individual. The judicial process for that individual is proceeding and the accused is rightfully afforded the ideals of due process;
  • The Clayton investigation concludes that a single VSU student-athlete participated in the incident, and;
  • This was a spontaneous incident in which there was no premeditation involved in the altercation, the WSSU quarterback was not targeted and it occurred with no intention or attempt to gain a competitive advantage.

Clayton found there was no evidence to suggest that any VSU players or coaches tried to gain a competitive advantage by inuring Winston Salem’s quarterback Rudy Johnson.

“We based our investigation entirely on sworn and signed affidavits, and that`s as good as it gets,” Reed said.

In the days following the fight, Winston-Salem State University  filed a formal complaint with the NCAA and CIAA against VSU.

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

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.

Winston Salem’s preliminary investigation tells a different story.

In a letter to the NCAA and CIAA, Winston Salem’s President wrote “that one or more VSU student athletes attempted to create an extensive competitive advantage by eliminating the starting quarterback from championship competition.”

He also alleged up to five VSU football players assaulted Johnson. Clayton’s report found that accusation cannot be substantiated.

“There was one student athlete at Virginia State University that was unfortunately involved in this incident,” Reed said.

Winston Salem’s President also said VSU’s coaches did not properly supervise their players.
Reed said the university stands behind its coach.

“I`m not going to respond to any of the accusations that WSSU made at that time...I`m going to let the report speak for itself,” Reed said.

Blye said WSSU’s statements gave his school a false and bad reputation.

“It really made people think that we were thugs,” Blye said.

Neither the NCAA nor CIAA has commented about their possible investigations.

"VSU condemns the misconduct which occurred in the underlying incident at the CIAA Football Championship Luncheon.  VSU neither condones nor excuses this type of behavior, despite any perceived provocation," the university released in a statement. "VSU is committed to sponsoring an athletics program that fosters the positive values of collegiate athletics, which serve as the core of the CIAA’s mission. VSU expects every person involved with VSU athletics to comport himself or herself with sportsmanship and respect for our athletic opponents."