Cobras, Rattlers to face 'stiff penalty' for basketball brawl


Senior Sports Reporter


The New Providence Association of High Schools Principals (NPAHSP) is expected to suspend both the CC Sweeting Cobras and the CI Gibson Rattlers senior boys basketball teams for the remainder of the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association for their part in the melee that disrupted the start of the season at the DW Davis Gym last week Monday.

The feature game between the Cobras and Rattlers on day one of the season was halted with about five minutes left in the third quarter when a fight broke out on the court between the players. Both benches cleared as the remaining players and coaches and eventually the fans got involved.

CI Gibson was leading 53-46 when the game was stopped. Officials, however, were unable to continue play.

In their ruling, the NPAHSP is expected to suspend both teams and their coaches from participating in the remainder of the GSSSA basketball season this year, but they will allow CC Sweeting and CI Gibson to participate in any tournaments being played outside of the GSSSA league.

Ministry of Education sports director Evon Wisdom, who was there when the fight broke out, said that while the official announcement will be made by the NPAHSP, he is aware that it’s a “stiff, but balanced” decision and he publicly thanked them for the penalty that they meted out to the two schools.

“They took into consideration that we have athletes who have the possibility of going off to college and university, so they took into all of that when they made their decision,” Wisdom said. “The word is that it’s a stiff penalty and they are not playing. We congratulate them for that.

“School sports is to be played in a safe environment and I think the Principals Association is trying to send a message out to the rest of the schools. But at the same time, I think they have taken into consideration that there are students who are trying to get off to college, so they will allow them to play in the various tournaments like those held in Grand Bahama and here in New Providence, including the Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic.”

GSSSA president Alfred Forbes said while they are waiting on an official correspondent from the NPAHSP, what they heard is a harsh penalty because their association would have recommended both teams default the game and serve a two game suspension, based on the rules of FIBA, the international body in which they are affiliated.

“The GSSSA hand down suspensions to their schools under their jurisdiction, but if the Principals Association, who are our parents, want to change that decision, they have the perogative to do so,” Forbes said. “If we don’t agree with their decision, then we have the right to appeal.”

Should the suspension go through in its entirety, Forbes said it will be a devastating blow to the GSSSA.

“If they are not allowed to play for the rest of the year, then those coaches who are following them now in the United States, will probably rethink their decision to recruit them,” Forbes said. “We are now affiliated by FIBA and they are looking at the progress that we are making.

“But most importantly, the most detrimental thing will be the sponsorship. For the first time in the GSSSA existence for 20 years, we are now getting sponsors for these disciplines that we are playing. In basketball, Vitamalt is our sponsor. But those two schools are our top two schools in the country and to pull them out of the GSSSA, the competition wouldn’t be as good. I’m afraid Vitamalt might also be concerned and might pull their sponsorship.”

While the teams will still be allowed to participate in the tournaments, Forbes said they may also have an adverse effect because the GSSSA has to sanction the tournaments.

“So if they are not participating in the GSSSA, as far as I know constitutionally, they might not be eligible to participate in a tournament like the Hugh Campbell.”

Forbes said he’s hoping that through an appeal, the NPAHSP will rescind on the decision and issue a lighter suspension.

The NPAHSP, up to press time last night, had not issued an official statement on the suspension.


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