Six players, assistant coach suspended for brawl in Indiana; schools placed on probation

After meeting with principals, athletic directors and coaches at South Bend Washington and Michigan City, the Indiana High School Athletic Association has placed both programs on probation for the remainder of the season, suspended six players for one game and suspended an assistant coach indefinitely for their role in a fight in last week’s game.

A brawl broke out during the second quarter of Friday night’s game that required police intervention to contain and led to the game being halted. The IHAA ruled the game will be considered a double forfeit.

The six players identified by each school — four for Michigan City and two from South Bend Washington — must sit out the next game and complete an online sportsmanship course from the National Federation.

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A South Bend assistant coach, Keith Witherspoon was suspended by the school and the IHSAA is requiring him to take the “teaching and role modeling behavior” online course from the National Federation.

The probation means an official notice that serious violations have occurred will be issued and would come into play should another similar incident happen in the future.

In a statement, the IHSAA said it does not believe the game “reached the level of a brawl as some have suggested. It was a highly competitive game that got out of hand.”

“Sportsmanship is still a primary focus of the IHSAA,” IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox said. “Incidents of this nature erode the interscholastic experience for everyone involved. I applaud both schools for proactively meeting at Michigan City High School the next day to discuss the incidents of the game and formulate future plans to eliminate undesirable behaviors.”

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