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Officials at North Carolina A&T, NCCU mull future of series after brawl


Officials at North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central are considering the future of their football series after the latest meeting ended in a post-game brawl that police broke up with pepper spray.

Erskine Bowles, the president of the University of North Carolina system that oversees both schools, spoke with the colleges’ chancellors about the fight that took place Saturday night after N.C. Central’s 27-22 win and is leaving the punishment up to them.

“We are all in complete agreement that this sort of unsportsmanlike behavior was just plain wrong, and that it will not be condoned or tolerated within our university,” Bowles said in a statement released by his office.

“I am confident that both chancellors are going to handle this matter appropriately on their own campuses and will take steps to ensure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.”

The fight broke out shortly after N.C. Central intercepted a pass to seal the victory and the Eagles stormed the field and jumped on the A&T logo, prompting the Aggies to confront them.

Coaches were unable to stop the melee, and after several minutes at least one police officer from Central used pepper spray to break it up. The schools said nobody was hurt, but N.C. Central suspended an unidentified player for this week’s game against Presbyterian.

It is unclear whether Central and A&T will meet as scheduled next Aug. 30 in Durham.

“We owe them a game, and at some point, we will honor our agreement that we will return the game,” A&T athletic director DeLores “Dee” Todd said. “When that’s going to be, I can’t say.”

Neither Todd nor Central athletic director Bill Hayes returned phone messages left Tuesday by The Associated Press, and Central assistant athletic director Kyle Serba said first-year coach Mose Rison would not answer questions about the fight.

The chancellors of the schools, Charlie Nelms of N.C. Central and Stanley F. Battle of A&T, issued a statement Monday night saying no decision has been reached about the series, but “we are jointly collaborating as sister institutions to decide the best course.”

The game was billed as the return of a rivalry that dates back to 1924. It was the teams’ first meeting since N.C. Central beat A&T 23-22 in the 2005 Aggie-Eagle Classic, and was the first time the two historically black colleges met as opponents in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA. N.C. Central is in its first season at that level after moving up from Division II.

–Associated Press

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