SCOOBA, Miss. (WCBI) — After a benches clearing brawl that resulted in Thursday night’s game being called, EMCC has been disqualified from the upcoming 2015 MACJC football playoffs and the ICC Indians football team will take their place next Saturday.
According to the MACJC, EMCC’s game with Mississippi Delta on Thursday night was called following “violent ejections” as both teams left their respective sidelines during a fight with 59 seconds remaining in the first half.
EMCC led the Trojans 48-0 before the end of the half as the Lions attempted to regain possession with two timeouts being called. Following the second timeout, the two teams began trading punches on the field and the fight spilled over onto the home sideline. Coaches, officials and security were able to halt the fight and both teams returned to their sidelines.
Game officials, athletic directors and coaches met on the field following the fight and the officials called the game soon after.
“I put this on us for our lack of discipline, the referees for not controlling the game and (Delta) for (it’s) lack of discipline,” EMCC head coach Buddy Stephens told the Commercial Dispatch’s Scott Walters following the incident. “We told our guys how this game would be and how they would play. If they don’t listen, I simply can not help them.”
The NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) mandates that those players leaving the bench during an altercation are subject to a one game suspension. “Violent ejections” are subject to a two game suspension.
ICC will now take EMCC’s place in the playoffs, as they will be the MACJC North Division’s #2 seed and travel to Gulf Coast next Saturday, October 31st. Northwest will be the MACJC North Division’s #1 seed and will host East Central the same day.
With the disqualification, EMCC’s run towards an unprecedented third straight National Championship ends. No team in the history of the NJCAA has ever won three consecutive National Titles. The Lions will finish the season 8-0, with one loss being vacated due to Copiah-Lincoln using an ineligible player in their win over EMCC on September 3rd.
Commissioner of the MACJC Jim Southward on EMCC’s disqualification from the playoffs:
“Based upon the altercation last night between East MS CC and MS Delta CC, East MS CC will not be eligible to participate in the MACJC football playoffs. Both schools will have to adhere to the NJCAA ejection policy which states “mandatory ejection and removal from the venue for any bench personnel other than the head coach who leaves the bench or designated warm up area when a fight may break out or has broken out. A two contest suspension to be served during the next two regularly scheduled or postseason contests. Suspension of a coach or player at the end of a season of play shall carry over to the next season.”
EMCC President Dr. Thomas M. Huebner Jr. on Football Team’s MACJC Playoff Disqualification:
Late in the second quarter of last night’s game against Mississippi Delta Community College, a physical altercation erupted between the two teams.
As a result, the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges has suspended the entire EMCC Lions football team for two games. These consist of what would have been a semi-final playoff game against East Central Community College on Oct. 31 and, for returning players, the first game of the 2016 football season. Gone also is the possibility of playing in this year’s NJCAA championship game. We are currently considering all our options for appealing this decision.
At EMCC, a football field is a place where young men learn leadership, teamwork and responsibility. Our commitment to those core beliefs remains strong today. We ask the EMCC family to keep us in their thoughts and prayers as we navigate this difficult time.
We believe our football players, like all our students, have unlimited potential and we’re proud of every single one.