Rudy Johnson. File photo.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Winston-Salem State University spokesperson tells WFMY News 2 football players from an opposing team beat up the school's starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, at a football banquet Friday afternoon.
At least one player from Virginia State University allegedly beat Johnson up in a bathroom on campus. They say Johnson was treated and released from an area hospital.
The two teams were scheduled to play each other in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Championship on Saturday.
Kevin Manns with WSSU confirmed to WFMY News 2's Brian Formica that the championship game Saturday has been canceled. The CIAA Volleyball Championship that was to be played Saturday and Sunday has also been canceled.
According to Winston-Salem State University one player admitted to his role in the attack and was arrested on criminal assault charges. Police are still trying to identify other players involved.
"You've got players, you've got families, you've got fans that are in town that were looking forward to what they thought was going to be an exciting weekend and those plans have all gone awry now," said WSSU Public Relations Director Nancy Young.
"I think overall as a conference, we need to talk about the importance of sportsmanship and the no tolerance of behavior, at all," said Conference Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter. "We cannot conduct this type of behavior in the CIAA or any athletic competition."
Winston-Salem State University released the following statement from University Chancellor Donald J. Reaves:
"I am saddened to report that at today's CIAA pre-championship game luncheon held at the Anderson Center of the WSSU campus that our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was viciously beaten by one or more members of the Virginia State football team.
There is no excuse for the behavior of the Virginia State players. One suspect has admitted to his role in the attack and has been arrested on criminal assault charges.The University Police Department is attempting to identify the other VSU players who were involved.
Today's event was supposed to be a celebration for both teams and for all the players who were being recognized for an outstanding season. The actions from the Virginia State players certainly changed the outcome for everyone."
The CIAA released a statement about having to cancel the incident; this is a portion from the release:
"We did not make this decision lightly, as its impact is far and wide - affecting our student-athletes, alumni, fans, sponsors and more. But the CIAA has long had policies to encourage responsible behavior, and must consider what is necessary to assure days like today are not repeated, ever.
We will cooperate fully with the NCAA as it relates to its upcoming Division II national championships."
The CIAA says ticket holders for the Championship Game should contact the place of purchase for a refund on their tickets. If you purchased tickets through TicketMaster you will automatically receive a refund.