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'Something had to be done'
Southern, Prairie View bands suspended after brawl
Posted: Wednesday December 02, 1998 03:48 PM
PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (AP) -- Both the Prairie View A&M and Southern University marching bands were suspended Monday from their next two football games after an all-out brawl between the musicians.
The fight, which occurred at halftime during the schools' neutral-site game in Beaumont on Saturday, resulted in thousands of dollars in damage to instruments and uniforms. Both schools are investigating, but Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner Rudy Washington acted swiftly.
In addition to the suspensions, Washington demanded written reports on the incident be on his desk by next Monday.
"We felt something had to be done, because actions like that will not be tolerated at our games," said Assistant SWAC Commissioner Lonza Hardy, noting the action was necessary despite the drawing power of the conference's entertaining marching bands.
Band members may attend the games as plain-clothed students, Hardy added.
Calling the melee a "tragic incident," Larry Raab, Prairie View vice president for university operations, promised a thorough investigation.
"PVAMU takes student safety and security very seriously, and we intend to ensure that our students and fans are adequately protected at any university-sponsored event," Raab said.
Raab said the fighting started when the Southern band, leaving the Lamar University field after performing, charged through Prairie View musicians who were lined up on the sidelines ready to begin their performance.
"They marched vigorously into our band members," he said.
But Southern band director Isaac Greggs said the Prairie View band members blocked his group's exit from the field and then attacked drum major Terrell Jackson, who suffered minor injuries.
When the fight erupted, students used their instruments as weapons, assailing each other with drumsticks and trombones. Several students either received medical attention on site or were treated and released from a Beaumont hospital.
On Monday, Southern Chancellor Edward R. Jackson held both bands accountable for the fight, which occurred during Southern's 37-7 victory.
"Ater viewing videotapes from various sources, it is evident that errors were committed by both sides," Jackson said. "At this point, it is unimportant to determine who did what or who hit whom first. Guilt is not that critical."
Jackson added that "Southern University condemns violence of any type."
Prairie View's defeat extended its NCAA-record losing streak to 80 games.
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