Those of us at OSG HQ wouldn't neccessarily call it full-blown anarchy, but it was close...
Montgomery, Alabama and the Alabama State University Acadome was the host of the AHSAA central region playoffs. Both Montgomery-G.W. Carver and Chambers County-Valley high schools' boys basketball teams were elminated from the AHSAA Central Region Basketball Tournament as a result of a fight in the Acadome that spilled into the stands and brought patrons and fans onto the floor.
Both teams are now on "restrictive probation" and officials are calling the game a "double forfeit".
The AHSAA's Steve Savarese says he, along with several speakers, will meet with both teams on Thursday, though he declined to discuss what they would talk about in the meeting.
So far eleven juveniles are facing multiple charges including assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct - which includes inciting a riot as well as failure to disperse.
Chambers County School Superintendent George C. McCulloh, didn't need to see the video to understand the impact. He was watching the game from the stands.
McCulloh issued an apology to Alabama State University, the Athletics Department and Carver High School for his district's part in the fight.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese obtained a copy of the brawl from WSFA 12 News late Tuesday evening. "...I'm not going to overreact," Savarese said. " We're going to look at all the facts and look at the video, and we'll assess the situation and make some decisions."
Superintendent McCulloh said he was working with the AHSAA and Valley's principal to review the tape. "Our athletes and our student fans are aware that they must abide by the Chambers County Code of Conduct while at school functions whether on or off campus," he said. Each identified individual would be punished according to the county's code of conduct.
The Montgomery Public School system has not commented publicly on the event, though spokesman Tom Salter said an investigation was underway. They were expected to issue a statement sometime Wednesday.
WSFA 12 News was able to get reaction from Carver's principal, Gary Hall. "It sends a bad message to our little kids, " Hall said of the event. "My son was in that situation and he's asking me 'Daddy what's going on?'" Carver's top educator said folks could rest assured he would "get to the bottom of it." He also apologized to ASU for the situation.
Carver High School was winning the game 52-37 and tensions were running high in the fourth quarter. Around 3:45pm the hard foul that apparently started the mess was called. Several players began pushing each other and the scuffle quickly escalated to an all-out melee when fans rushed out of the stands and onto the court.
One unidentified player wearing Valley's orange shorts could be seen rushing down the court, shirtless, throwing punches at others. Many other players and fans were on the ground being kicked and punched as police officers tried to regain control of the Acadome.
Head coaches from Valley and Carver haven't commented, though they were seen hugging after the chaos subsided.
Savarese tells WSFA 12 News "...from what I've seen in just the short clips, I'm very disappointed for student athletes of our state, because, uh, very disappointed [for] what we taught 'em today."
The tournament was being held in the ASU Acadome, a stadium which holds approximately 7,000 spectators. There were around 3,000 people in attendance during the game.
Kenneth Mullinax, Director of University Relations for Alabama State University, said "...no one was hurt. We had some over enthusiastic high school fans who got involved in an altercation..."
Mullinax insisted the event was safe and family friendly, and urged people to come out and enjoy the games.
Team coverage from WSFA-TV 12 is below...