Archived Story

Cullman, Walker get probation for football game fight (with AHSAA release)

Published 3:49pm Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Alabama High School Athletic Association has banned Walker from the playoffs and placed Cullman on non-restrictive probation after a fight broke out between the teams following the Bearcats’ 13-10 win over Walker last week.

The Bearcats, who compete against Hartselle in Class 5A, Region 8, are still eligible for the playoffs. In addition to the probation, defensive coordinator Matt Hopper has been suspended for the rest of the season and Cullman High School will be fined $1,500.

Former Walker High School head coach John Holladay, who resigned in the wake of the fight, has been suspended for the remainder of the season. Walker High School has been placed on restrictive probation, which means the Vikings football program is ineligible for the playoffs.

If Holladay had not resigned, Walker could have faced another postseason ban in 2014.

Here is the complete text of the AHSAA release:

Walker High School has been placed on restrictive probation for the remainder of the 2013 football season and Cullman High School has been placed on non-restrictive probation for one year and each school fined $1,500 for flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct during an altercation between both schools following their varsity football game at Jasper Aug. 30.

Walker head coach John Holladay and Cullman assistant coach Matt Hopper have been suspended for the remainder of the 2013 football season for their involvement in the incident.

Walker High School is currently on non-restrictive probation for a flagrant unsportsmanlike incident during the 2012 football season that resulted in a warning that if a similar incident occurred during that probationary period, restrictive sanctions would be assessed.

A second year of restrictive probation will be assessed to Walker High School if Holladay is the WHS head football coach. If not, the school is assessed a one-year probationary period for the 2014 football season that is non-restrictive.

Restrictive probation limits the school’s football teams to participation only in regular-season games and prohibits the school from participating in an interscholastic football contest involving more than two schools, including championships, for the duration of the restrictive probation.

Cullman High School is placed on probation for the remainder of the 2013 season and received a warning that should similar incidents occur in the future, restrictive sanctions may be assessed.

“The AHSAA encourages the two schools to work together to enhance relations between their student-athletes and communities and, in doing so, demonstrate the leadership necessary to foster the AHSAA’s mission of good sportsmanship in interscholastic athletics,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.

“It is time to take the focus away from this isolated event and note the outstanding sportsmanship that is exhibited across our state by our member schools, teams and coaches each week. Let’s now move forward and accent the positive impact education-based athletics makes daily in the lives of our student-athletes, coaches, schools and communities.”

It is a recommendation of the AHSAA that both schools’ football players and coaches complete one professional development session administered by the AHSAA’s mentoring program. If so, the $1,500 fine for each school will be reduced to $1,000.

Any additional statements must come from the schools. The AHSAA will make no additional statement concerning this matter.

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