A fight that broke out during a game between Hickory Ridge (N.C.) High School and East Mecklenburg (N.C.) High School has led to a playoff ban for the former and premature end to a season for the other.
As reported by the Charlotte Observer, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) banned Hickory Ridge from the forthcoming state playoffs after a benches-clearing brawl that unfolded during the team’s game with East Mecklenburg (East Meck) on Monday led to the ejection of multiple players from both teams.
Under NCHSAA guidelines, a game ejection brings with it a two-game suspension. Because of the number of players who were ejected, East Meck was forced to cancel its final two games.
The penalty for Hickory Ridge was, in theory, worse. The program was told by NCHSAA officials that it would be banned from the forthcoming state playoffs and given 48 hours to appeal. It has already announced that it will, and will re-assess whether it can play its own final two regular season games after that appeal is heard.
For now, the program is focused on being made eligible for the playoffs first and foremost. And unlike East Meck, which openly accepted the penalties handed down by the NCHSAA, Hickory Ridge will hope to have as many of the penalties as possible scaled back, both for its players and program. How successful they are in that pursuit should become more clear after the school’s appeal is heard.