Thirteen boys basketball players have been indefinitely suspended after a brawl in the stands ended with a call to the police after Friday night’s game between Gulf and Ridgewood.
Nine players from Ridgewood and four from Gulf will be sidelined, pending a final ruling from the Florida High School Athletic Association, administrators at both schools said.
“We’re working with Gulf and with the FHSAA,” Ridgewood athletic director Tom Wellington said. “We have nine kids that are suspended indefinitely until we get everything settled with the FHSAA and they tell us exactly what the suspensions will be.”
The Rams have only 13 varsity players listed on their roster, so they will bring up players from the JV team to field a full team during tonight’s game at Hudson, Wellington said.
Administrators from the district and both schools spent the last two days trying to find out which players left the bench area and if any of them were otherwise a part of the brawl.
“Their involvement in the incident has resulted in an immediate suspension for the athletes involved,” Gulf athletic director Travis DeWalt said Tuesday in an email.
The initial punishments came from the schools. Suspensions for leaving the bench area could last for a week, while involvement in a fight could land punishments of six weeks or more.
The FHSAA expects to receive all information from both schools, including game film, by Wednesday morning. Officials will then review the case and dole out any necessary suspensions or fines, which could happen by the end of the week.
“We’re still awaiting information,” FHSAA spokesman Corey Sobers said.
The fight began in the stands after Ridgewood edged the Bucs for a 56-55 victory at Gulf – the Rams’ second close victory over Gulf this winter. Officers from the New Port Richey Police Department were dispatched to disperse the crowd. No further information from the police department was available Tuesday afternoon.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident with Gulf. As of Tuesday afternoon, no arrests have been made, spokesman Doug Tobin said, but the office is still “actively investigating this case.”