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CIAA title game canceled after QB reportedly attacked by opponents

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Saturday's CIAA league championship game between Division II Winston-Salem State and Virginia State has been canceled, with the Winston Salem-Journal reporting that several Virginia State players attacked WSSU's starting quarterback in a bathroom during a CIAA banquet.

“We don't know a lot of what happened but we do know our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was beaten up,” WSSU chancellor Donald Reaves told the Journal, “and he didn't beat himself up.”

The Journal reported late Friday that Virginia State backup running back Lamont Britt was arrested and charged with assault and inflicting serious injury. The arrest warrant stated that Britt struck Johnson in the face and head.

A WSSU player said the incident wasn't a fight.

“They decided to go in there and try to hurt Rudy,” he said.

Virginia State announced the game's cancellation with a statement on their website.

"Virginia State University is aware of an incident involving student athletes from Winston Salem State and Virginia State Universities," said the release. "VSU officials are fully cooperating with the CIAA in their investigation, and as a result, will not be able to comment any further.

"In light of the incident, the CIAA has cancelled the Championship Football game. We ask that any inquiries regarding the game should be directed to the CIAA."

According to WSSU spokesperson Nancy Young, who was in attendance at the banquet, Johnson went to the restroom and was confronted by five Virginia State players. Johnson later identified Britt as the person who struck him.

WSSU coach Connell Maynor told the Journal that his team wanted to play the game, but that he didn't believe it could be conducted safely.

"I couldn't guarantee that I could keep all 55 of my guys in check for the game," he said, "and all it would take would be one comment or something like that. So no coach could guarantee that.”

Both teams are 9-1 and ranked inthe D-II top 25. Though WSSU is expected to make the D-II playoffs regardless, the cancelation could hurt Virginia State's chances of making the postseason.

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