School chancellors apologize for postgame player brawl

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The chancellors of North Carolina
Central and North Carolina A&T apologized to each other Wednesday,
four days after their football teams brawled after a game.

North Carolina A&T chancellor Stanley F. Battle said one
unidentified Aggies player was suspended for two games for his role
in last Saturday's brawl. One Eagles player already has been
suspended for this week's game.

"This has taken on a life of its own," Battle said during a
joint news conference on the A&T campus.

"It hurts me for two African-American males to stand before you
and talk about a fight, because we're bigger than that," he added.
"However, when our students make mistakes, we deal with it. We
don't run away. We don't don't hide. We deal with it appropriately."

N.C. Central chancellor Charlie Nelms said the schools have not
decided whether they will play their scheduled game next August in
Durham after the schools' heated in-state rivalry got nasty during
an on-field, 90-second fight that was halted by police who used
pepper spray.

"We're here to say that behavior is wrong, we're not going to
tolerate it and we're committed to working collaboratively to make
sure that ... this never happens again," Nelms said.

The fight broke out shortly after N.C. Central intercepted a
pass to seal the 27-22 victory and the Eagles stormed the field and
jumped on the A&T logo, prompting the Aggies to confront them.

"Who started the fight is not the central issue," Nelms said.
"We both agree it was wrong."

Coaches were unable to stop the melee, and after several minutes
at least one police officer from Central used pepper spray to break
it up. The schools said nobody was hurt.

"We will also look at what led up to it and try to make an
intelligent decision," Battle said. "But I will not bury any of
my kids. I will not give up on them because they've made a

Both chancellors said they will continue to review videotapes of
the incident and are talking to coaches, players and spectators as
part of their investigation, and further punishments could follow.
Battle said there was no timetable for completing the probe.

"We're not going to rush," Battle said. "Neither one of us
are under any pressure whatsoever to rush. Clearly, this is
extremely important to our institutions, and we want to make sure
it never happens again. So when we decide, we need to really take
some time to look at appropriate steps, protocol, lines of

The game was billed as the return of a rivalry between two
historically black schools that dates back to 1924. It was the
teams' first meeting since N.C. Central beat A&T 23-22 in the 2005.

N.C. Central is playing its first season in Division I as an
independent after moving up from Division II. A&T is a member of
the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference of Division I's Championship

The Eagles have expressed interest in joining the MEAC, the
league they helped found in the 1970s. They left the conference
when it was reclassified into Division I.