Arbitration for suspended North, Salisbury teams denied

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Attempts to pursue arbitration with the North Carolina High School Athletics Association in an effort to overturn the rulings against the boys’ basketball teams at Salisbury High and North Rowan High have failed.

The schools were suspended from state playoffs on Feb. 19 after a confrontation occurred between the two teams at a Feb. 15 game. The school system appealed the suspension, but the appeal was denied by the full association board Friday morning. The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education at its Monday meeting authorized the board attorney to pursue arbitration with the association. The decision was followed by passionate appeals from parents of student athletes and the North Rowan Coach, Andrew Mitchell, Jr., calling the suspension an “injustice.”

Two of the five seniors on the North Rowan team were depending on being scouted during the playoffs to help them attend college, Mitchell said.

Tuesday, the Athletics Association denied the school board’s request, which ends attempts to reverse the suspension of the North and Salisbury teams. The association informed the board that its rules, which apply to member schools, do not permit arbitration of final decisions of the executive board.

However, the association’s executive committee agreed to reconsider its game suspensions of individual student athletes if presented with evidence that the student in question did not violate association rules. Staff at Salisbury and North Rowan are working to submit this additional information to the association’s executive committee.

“We regret that our students will not have an opportunity to compete in the playoffs, but hope that this compromise allows relief for individual students and a better understanding of both the community’s position and that of the athletic association,” Rowan-Salisbury Public Information Officer Rita Foil said in an e-mailed press release Tuesday evening.