WINSTON-SALEM--After years of playing second fiddle to its popular basketball tournament, the CIAA hoped to increase attendance of its football championship. It won’t happen this year, however, as the championship game between Winston-Salem State and Virginia State will be canceled in the wake of an alleged attack involving players from both teams.
WSSU quarterback Rudy Johnson was hospitalized after he was allegedly assaulted by several Virginia State players. The players were gathered for a CIAA luncheon on the campus of WSSU, who was set to host the championship game at Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday. Virginia State running back Lamont Britt has reportedly been arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and is accused of hitting Johnson in the face and head.
CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter released a statement earlier concerning the incident.
"Our singular focus is on the safety and security of the CIAA's student-athletes and those who follow them. It is important that everyone involved in the CIAA embody our mission every day by acting as upstanding individuals on and off the field," she said.
"We must work together to hold each other to higher standards of responsible judgment and conduct because we must demand that if we are to succeed."Winston-Salem State (9-1) was the Division II national runner up last season, has won two consecutive CIAA titles and are ranked ninth in their division. Virginia State (9-1) doubled its previous win total en route to a CIAA North title and are ranked 22nd in the nation.