Park View season canceled, coach terminated
Following an incident that occurred at Brunswick High School’s “Brunswick Classic” holiday basketball tournament on Saturday, in which the majority of the Park View High School varsity boys basketball team violently attacked a group of Brunswick fans, the Mecklenburg County School Board at its regular monthly meeting on Monday night unanimously voted to suspend the remainder of the season for the Park View team and terminate head coach Brian Sykes.
The disciplinary action will prohibit the team from playing any more games in the 2016-2017 school year and completely end the varsity boys basketball program for the current school year.
“There was a huge fight, and a significant portion of our players were involved in the fight,” Mecklenburg County Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols explained after the meeting, noting the school board had previously viewed a video of the entire incident.
Nichols said that after Park View defeated Armstrong High School in the holiday tournament, the Park View players involved in the altercation “took the time to get away from the coach and go over and basically surround” a group of Brunswick fans that he described as “students, adults and others in the stands” and “start a fight.”
“It had nothing to do with the game it self, or the tournament itself,” he said of the incident, which occurred in the second quarter of the Brunswick varsity boys team’s game against Petersburg High School in the nightcap.
Nichols called the attack by the Park View players “obviously premeditated” and “very deliberate.”
“They will possibly have legal action taken against them by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Department,” Nichols said. “We anticipate that if we didn’t do anything the Virginia High School League would have. The VHSL is all about sportsmanship.”
Nichols noted the actions of the team members involved exhibited “anything but” good sportsmanship.
“Character is as important as athletic ability, and we have to reinforce the issue of character with our students and staff,” he said. “It is our responsibility to take action.”
Nichols went on to say the incident “canceled the rest of the tournament for Brunswick.”
“I have called the superintendent in Brunswick County and expressed our deepest apologies that this happened,” he said.
Nichols said the decision to cancel the rest of the season for Park View was necessary “to say to the students that this is unacceptable.”
Nichols also confirmed Tuesday morning that Sykes’ position as varsity boys basketball head coach at Park View had been terminated.
“He was not with the team” at the time of the incident, Nichols said of Sykes. “The team was given free reign to take action without supervision. The team is not supposed to be without supervision.”
Nichols said the varsity boys basketball program at Park View will be restarted in the 2017-2018 school year under a new coach.
The Dragons had been experiencing great success with their varsity boys basketball program under Sykes, starting this season 8-1 after advancing to the 3A state quarterfinals a season ago.
However, there were issues last season as well. The team was forced to forfeit a game after an away game in which property of the host school was damaged. The ensuing game was forfeited as administrators waited for players to give an account of what had happened and how the property was damaged.