The championship football game of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association between Winston-Salem State University and Virginia State University was cancelled after an incident at the luncheon the day before the game was scheduled at the Anderson Conference Center on the Winston-Salem State University campus.
Winston-State University chancellor Donald J. Reeves issued the following statement about the incident: “I am saddened to report that at today’s CIAA pre-championship game luncheon held at the Anderson Center of the WSSU campus that our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was viciously beaten by one or more members of the Virginia State football team. There is no excuse for the behavior of the Virginia State players. One suspect has admitted to his role in the attack and has been arrested on criminal assault charges. The University Police Department is attempting to identify the other VSU players who were involved. Today’s event was supposed to be a celebration for both teams and for all the players who were being recognized for an outstanding season. The actions from the Virginia State players certainly changed the outcome for everyone.”
Jacqie Carpenter, commissioner of the 12-team CIAA in addressing the decision to cancel the game, added: “We did not make this decision lightly, as its impact is far and wide – affecting our student-athletes, alumni, fans, sponsors and more. But the CIAA has long had policies to encourage responsible behavior, and must consider what is necessary to assure days like today are not repeated, ever. On the eve of such an important weekend for dozens of our student-athletes, many of whom have waited a lifetime for such a moment, we are left to focus instead on what might have been.”
Rudy Johnson is a junior communications major from San Diego. Photographs taken after the incident showed Johnson walking under his own power but holding an ice bag on his head. Published reports stated that the assault, which occurred in a restroom, involved as many as five Virginia State players.
The CIAA volleyball championship match between the same two universities was also cancelled.