FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Tuesday night a fight broke out on the court of Northrop High School during a basketball game between the home Bruins and the North Side Legends.
The chaos forced officials to cancel the game, and school officials and the IHSAA are now investigating the incident.
According to a Fort Wayne Police report, an adult fan in the stands got involved in the altercation on the court and injured a player from North Side.
The report said Officer Preonda Reese was on scene and called for assistance after the fight broke out. Officer Reese said there was a Northrop player and two North Side players tussling for a jump ball, and seconds later, “I saw coaches, administrators, fans from the stands and players all rushing onto the court near the benches,” the report said.
Officer Reese said that once the fight was “semi under control,” she noticed fans in the stands getting into verbal altercations. She then paged other officers that assistance was needed for crowd control and possible retaliation in the parking lot, the report said.
Once players were in the locker room, Reese said in the report she cleared the gym and made everyone leave before the players left the locker rooms.
Fort Wayne Community schools provided WANE 15 with this statement:
“We are obviously disappointed in the behavior of several student-athletes at the North Side-Northrop basketball game on Tuesday evening. We appreciate staff members and police officers bringing it to an end quickly and without serious injury. As both schools are in Fort Wayne Community Schools, we were able to quickly discuss consistent consequences for those involved on each team. The consequences include suspension from games or removal from the team, based on the level of involvement, and requirement to complete a sportsmanship program. The teams will also meet together in the near future to share dinner and conversation and restore relationships.”Fort Wayne Community Schools
Ken Trump is the President of National School Safety and Security Services says many schools focus on safety in a school setting but procedures also need to be in place for violent activity at athletic events. He says as students come back from remote learning, schools are seeing an increase in violence during the day and extracurricular activities. Tensions are high from social and emotional stressors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump says, for the fight last night, Northrop and North Side could get warnings or penalties from the IHSAA. To keep incidents like this from happening, Trump says it’s important to teach athletes appropriate behavior on the court.
“We want to make sure that our kids, our coaches and our spectators, understand that sportsmanlike conduct the biggest lesson that you can get out of an athletic event as much if not more as how to play the game itself,” Trump said. The hope is everyone involved uses this as a teachable moment and learns how to manage tensions and emotions in a more constructive way.
IHSAA Sports Information Director Jason Wille told WANE 15 Tuesday afternoon that it was aware of the fight has reviewed the video of the game. Wille said the IHSAA asked the administrators at both schools to investigate and “report back to us their findings and disciplinary actions taken.”