Both coaches involved in a fight after the Walker-Cullman high school football game last Friday night have been suspended for the rest of the season by the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
On Thursday, the AHSAA announced the sanctions against the schools, which include a restrictive probation against Walker and a non-restrictive probation for Cullman.
Each school is also fined $1,500 for the "flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct" during the fight that broke out between two coaches after Cullman's 13-10 win over Walker.
Walker High School was already on a non-restrictive probation for a flagrant unsportsmanlike incident that happened during last year's football season. Now under restrictive probation, Walker will be allowed to participate in regular season games for 2013 but not the playoffs.
The AHSAA says a second year of restrictive probation against Walker is possible if John Holladay remains as the WHS head football coach. Holladay was placed on indefinite leave after the fight and turned in his resignation earlier this week, according to the Jasper City Schools Athletic Director.
The AHSAA has also suspended Cullman's assistant coach Matt Hopper for the rest of the 2013 football season. Cullman school leaders did not take any disciplinary action against Hopper for his involvement in the fight.
"The AHSAA encourages the two schools to work together to enhance relations between their student-athletes and communities and, in doing so, demonstrate the leadership necessary to foster the AHSAA's mission of good sportsmanship in interscholastic athletics," AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said in a release.
Walker High School has released a statement following AHSAA's ruling, saying they are saddened by the entire incident and will accept the penalties.
"We apologize for the behavior that was exhibited and pledge to emphasize and put into place the measures necessary to prevent this kind of behavior in the future by a Walker High School student, coach or teacher," the statement reads in part.
High school officials did not give many details but they say they plan to develop a program for student-athletes and coaches to help foster positive sportsmanship. They will also follow AHSAA's recommendation that the football players and coaches complete a "professional development session" through AHSAA's mentoring program.
Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Doreen Griffeth also released a statement regarding today's ruling.
"We deeply regret that such an outstanding contest will be remembered for the events that occurred after the whistle," Griffeth said about the fight. She adds that the school and football team will accept the AHSAA's sanctions.
The AHSAA will allow each school's $1,500 fine to be dropped to $1,000 if football players and coaches from both schools complete a professional development session through the AHSAA's mentoring program.
Both Walker and Cullmans high schools have been warned that if another incident occurs, further sanctions could be considered.
Read the full statement from the AHSAA here.
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