Penalties announced for South Bend Washington, Michigan City football teams

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By: Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana High School Athletic Association has placed two northern Indiana football teams on probation and suspended six players and two coaches following a fight that forced officials to halt a game at halftime.

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox suspended four Michigan City players and two South Bend Washington players for one game each and suspended Washington assistant coach Keith Witherspoon indefinitely following a meeting Tuesday with principals, athletic directors and coaches from both schools.

Cox also placed both teams on probation for the rest of the season and declared the game Friday a double forfeit.

Referees suspended the season opener for both schools at halftime after IHSAA officials said it would not be safe to continue.

 

The following penalties announced from the Indiana High School Athletic Association against the South Bend Washington, Michigan City football teams are spelled out below in this news release sent by the IHSAA to 95.3 MNC:

Following an incident of unsportsmanlike behavior during last Friday’s football game between South Bend Washington High School and Michigan City High School, IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox has placed both teams on probation for the remainder of the 2015 season and suspended several players and an assistant coach.

Cox conducted a meeting at the IHSAA office in Indianapolis this afternoon with principals, athletic directors and coaches from both schools in attendance.

Probation is official notice that serious violations have occurred, are a matter of record and future, similar incidents will not be tolerated.

Six players as identified by each school, four for Michigan City and two from South Bend Washington, as well as one South Bend Washington assistant coach are suspended for the next game.

In addition, each ejected player must complete the Sportsmanship course available at NFHSLearn.com and both schools shall provide certification of completion of this course to the IHSAA prior to Friday, September 4, 2015.

South Bend Washington assistant coach Keith Witherspoon is suspended indefinitely by the school and the IHSAA has instructed him to take the Teaching and Role Modeling Behavior online course offered at NFHSLearn.com.

Because this game did not end in the appropriate manner, the game will be scored as a double forfeit.

After reading reports, analyzing video, and discussing the incidents with school administrators, the IHSAA does not believe or agree that the game reached the level of a brawl as some have suggested. It was a highly‐competitive game that got out of hand.

“Sportsmanship is still a primary focus of the IHSAA,” said the commissioner. “Incidents of this nature erode the interscholastic experience for everyone involved. I applaud both schools for proactively meeting at Michigan City High School the next day to discuss the incidents of the game and formulate future plans to eliminate undesirable behaviors.”