Fight Leads to Suspensions

January 30, 2018

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association suspended the boys' basketball teams at Austin-East and Brainerd High Schools after a brawl erupted during their recent game.

According to the Times Free Press, Derion Battle and Jalen Wofford, players from Austin-East and Brainerd, respectively, had been chasing a ball that went out of bounds. The official's report indicates that Battle hit Wofford with the ball, resulting in Wofford hitting back, and spectators and other teammates joining the brawl. The game then stopped at two minutes and twenty seconds before halftime, with Brainerd leading 36-32

The TSSAA made its decision after reviewing evidence related to the brawl, including video recordings captured by gym security cameras and attendees' cell phones. Bernard Childress, executive director of the TSSAA, said that while he did not wish to compare the fight to others, it was “pretty serious,” in his opinion.

"The main thing we had was what was on the security cameras," Childress said. "Brainerd sent us that early this morning. We watched video from that all day from different angles. We were just looking for information so we could get some idea of what happened. We saw everything we didn't want to see."

Childress said he asked both schools to deal with the situation, then give the TSSAA a report detailing how they intend to prevent additional incidents. He said he and his staff would then decide whether the schools had dealt with the problem, or the TSSAA would need to take additional action.

"We want to make sure everyone understands we allow them to play athletic opportunities for a lot bigger purpose than points on a scoreboard," Childress said.

Levar Brown, who coaches basketball at Brainerd, said school officials told him not to speak on the record.

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