UNION COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Both Austin East and Union County high schools were fined and placed on probation by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association after a fight broke out during Friday night’s football game, according to letters from TSSAA obtained by WATE.
The letters state that the fight happened just after a failed two-point conversion with just over five minutes left on the clock. The TSSAA stated that the officials’ report said an Austin-East player began attacking a Union County player, and a flag was thrown as more players came onto the field in response to the fight.
The letters state that when the fight began to “die down,” an Austin-East player then attempted to “[go] after” a Union County coach. After the fight was broken up again, the Union County player and coaches told officials they would not finish the game as they were concerned for their players’ safety.
Officials spoke with Austin-East’s coach and Union County’s vice principal and let them know the number of each player on the respective teams that was ejected from the game and that Union County had decided to leave the field. Security then escorted the officials off the field.
After reviewing the video, the officials’ report and letters sent by both high schools, the TSSAA determined that both teams would be:
- Placed on probation until the end of the 2024-2025 school year.
- Fined $1,000
Additionally, the TSSAA noted that it accepted Union County High School administration’s decision to suspend one of the players involved for the first quarter of the next game for his participation in the fight.
The TSSAA said it usually looks at bench-clearing altercations to determine if it warrants restrictive probation and a subsequent postseason ban, but in this case, they believed that probation was an appropriate penalty given the coaches and players’ quick de-escalation and return to the sidelines.
“We want to commend the coaches and players for the quick de-escalation of what could have been a much more serious situation.” the TSSAA wrote.