Game canceled after QB is beat up

Updated: November 16, 2013, 2:04 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A Virginia State football player faces assault charges after a bathroom fight left Winston-Salem State's starting quarterback badly beaten during a luncheon for both teams on the eve of their championship game.

Both Division II schools say the CIAA canceled the title game set for Saturday in Winston-Salem. 

We don't know a lot of what happened, but we do know our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was beaten up and he didn't beat himself up.

-- Winston-Salem State chancellor Donald Reaves, to the Winston-Salem Journal

Virginia State running back Lamont Britt was arrested Friday and charged with misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury. 

Winston-Salem State chancellor Donald Reaves said quarterback Rudy Johnson was "viciously beaten by one or more members of the Virginia State football team." The Winston-Salem Journal, citing multiple anonymous sources, reported that five Virginia State players were involved.  Reaves said police were trying to identify the other Virginia State players.

"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," Reaves said in a statement. "The actions from the Virginia State players certainly changed the outcome for everyone."

Johnson had a swollen eye and a cut above his eye, according to the police report.

Virginia State coach Latrell Scott, in a statement provided to ESPN, apologized for the "unfortunate incident" but disputed the report that five of his players were involved.

"One of our players made a mistake and cost our team the opportunity to play in the CIAA championship game today," Scott said. "This isolated incident does not represent us as a team or university and we extend our deepest regrets to the WSSU player involved.

"Due to the ongoing investigation, I cannot comment on the details of the events that took place but can clarify that only one of our players, not five as previously reported, was involved."

Conference officials say athletes from both schools were in the fight, but Reaves told the Journal that Johnson was the victim.

"We don't know a lot of what happened but we do know our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was beaten up," Reaves said. "And he didn't beat himself up."

A WSSU player told the Journal that Johnson would not have been able to play Saturday.

"We understand that some Virginia State University and Winston-Salem State University student-athletes were involved in an incident during the time of today's luncheon event," CIAA commissioner Jacqie Carpenter said in a statement. "The police are currently investigating the incident and are speaking with the individuals involved. Leadership from the CIAA and the participating institutions are fully cooperating. Further details and updates regarding the status of the championship game will be forthcoming."

Winston-Salem State police chief Pat Norris told the newspaper that Johnson was treated and released from a local hospital.

Both Winston-Salem State and Virginia State are 9-1. The CIAA volleyball championship was also canceled.

Information from ESPN's Joe Schad was used in this report.

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