2 ECHS basketball players serving suspension

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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Two Escambia County girls basketball players are serving a suspension after a fight broke out between the Lady Blue Devils and Baldwin County on Nov. 20, according to school officials.

Principal Amy Cabaniss said the Alabama High School Athletic Association, after viewing game film and reviewing written accounts, had the following version of events: During the third quarter of the game, a fight broke out between two girls from ECHS and two girls from BCHS.

“Players from both teams that were on the bench at the time came onto the court as well as spectators from the bleachers.”

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Cabaniss said the game had to be stopped at that point.

Cabaniss said because of the altercation, both schools were fined and penalties were imposed on the schools and players.

Cabaniss said because it was a flagrant unsportsmanlike penalty, and all appropriate officials with the AHSAA and the Escambia County School System were notified the night of the altercation.

Cabaniss said the AHSAA required a team roster, the names of the players on the court and those on the bench. “

That night, we had six girls on the bench, and we had five girls on the court,” she said. “That’s part of the information required on the AHSAA checklist.”

Cabaniss added she wasn’t present at the game.

Athletic Director Scott Mason attended the contest as her administrative designee.

Additionally, part of the AHSAA checklist was for the school to provide a written account of the altercation.

Cabaniss said she contacted ESCO Superintendent John Knott the same night of the altercation as well. The assistant director for the AHSAA contacted Cabaniss at home the night of the incident to notify her of the proper steps to take as the school principal.

Cabaniss said the AHSAA gives schools the opportunity to submit self-imposed penalties that follow the AHSAA by laws.

The AHSAA required the five players who left the bench to complete a NFHS Captain’s Course, which reduces the fine significantly, she said.

Those five players also have to serve a five-game suspension from play as required by the AHSAA. The two suspended players also had to take the course. As part of the original self-imposed proposal to the AHSAA, Cabaniss suspended the two players that fought for the remainder of the season.

During the next game at home against Satsuma, the ECHS girls team warmed up for their game, but didn’t come out to play their game. The game was a forfeit and the incident had to be reported to the AHSAA.

Cabaniss noted that according to the AHSAA by laws, Executive Director Steve Savarese has the right to suspend the two players who were fighting for the remainder of the season, impose higher fines and possibly suspend the entire program for the remainder of the year.

Cabaniss said she made a second self-imposed proposition a week following the original altercation that was accepted by Savarese.

The new proposal included reducing the remainder of the season suspension for the two players that fought to a 10-game suspension for each along with some internal conditions, she said.

Cabaniss said the suspensions started right after the incident, and declined to make a statement on the conditions set for the team and the two players.