Austin-East basketball's appeal denied; program banned from postseason in 2018 and 2019

Roadrunners basketball knows its fate after the TSSAA slapped a two-year postseason ban on the program.

The Austin-East Magnet High School basketball program will remained banned from the postseason for 2018 and 2019.

Board member Jody Wright told 10News on Thursday the board had voted 11-0 to uphold the state's punishment on the Austin-East basketball program. Wright, who coaches Fulton High School basketball and is the director of athletics, recused himself from the vote because the schools are in the same district.

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TSSAA confirmed the ruling Thursday afternoon.

"Austin-East came well-prepared and did a good job in their presentation," Wright said.

The move comes after Austin-East appealed its postseason bans and sanctions placed on it by the TSSAA.

Principal Nathan Langlois and athletics director Alvin Armstead were in Nashville to give the presentation, and will have a chance to appear before the board in June to demonstrate progress the basketball program has made.

"We regret the situation that occurred during our game with Brainerd, and we have already begun taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again as this does not reflect the true character of our school and our community," Langlois said in a statement.

"We have spoken to our players, their families and members of our community, and we appreciate the support we have received to move forward and restore confidence."

"We are very optimistic about the opportunity to regain next season’s postseason when we return before TSSAA with evidence of our progress," Langlois said. "As principal, I feel good about the door still being open for reconsideration. It comes down to our players and our community demonstrating good sportsmanship at all times and doing what we say we are going to do. I’m confident about getting a second chance.

"We appreciate TSSAA taking the time to hear our appeal and look forward to our meeting in June."

The Roadrunners were banned from the postseason by the TSSAA this year and in 2019 after the team was involved in a fight with the Brainerd High School team on Jan. 27. Cell phone video shows players, parents and fans from both sides took part in the conflict. The referees called the game before the first half had ended.

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Brainerd's appeal was also denied Thursday. The program was given the same two-year postseason ban and probation sanctions, according to WRCB-TV. It will also have a chance to appeal the sanctions in June after showing "significant progress," the TSSAA confirmed.

The TSSAA asked both schools to review the incident and determine punishments for their teams.

In a letter to the school, TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said, "While some of the actions proposed by the Austin-East Magnet High School administration are appropriate, collectively those actions are insufficient in view of the seriousness of the January 27 occurrence."

Childress said Austin-East will be placed on restrictive probation for the rest of this season and for the 2018-19 school year. While a school is on restrictive probation, they will be banned from postseason play.

The school was also fined $3,500.

PREVIOUS: Investigations underway into Austin-East, Brainerd basketball fight

The Roadrunners posted a 14-2 record prior to the game against Brainerd.

The team is scheduled to play at Scott High School for a district game Friday, with a tip-off at 7 p.m. However, head coach Marcus Stanton indicated both Scott and Alcoa had canceled its games against the men's team, citing safety concerns.

"I found this to be strange because there has never been any issues with a team at our gym," Stanton said. "These are both teams that have always been teated with the utmost courtesy and respect. Just as we do every team that visits our gymnasium."

Stanton said the team plans on hosting Bearden in the regular season finale Tuesday, Feb. 13.

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You can read the TSSAA's original letter to Austin-East below.

Austin-East sanctions from TSSAA