UPDATE: IHSA Announces Jefferson Punishment After Fight; Extra Police Presence at Friday's Game

By: Jessica Geraci; Scott Grodsky; Shannon Smith
By: Jessica Geraci; Scott Grodsky; Shannon Smith
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The IHSA has made a ruling concerning Jefferson

Photo Courtesy: @JoriTillman15

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Friday night’s basketball game between the Jefferson J-Hawks and Huntley Raiders ends peacefully with no repeat of the bench clearing brawl that broke out at Jefferson’s last game on Tuesday against East High School.

Belvidere North High school hosted Friday’s game and administrators brought in 4 Boone County Deputies to patrol the gym to deter any thing for getting out of hand. North hosted Tuesday’s game where that fight broke out between East and Jefferson. There were no incidents Friday. The Boone County officers were at the gym early in the night for the 3 point shootout contest until the final buzzer sounded. Fans sat on opposite sides of the gym clearly marked by large signs for their teams. No officers were at Tuesday’s game according to the school's athletic director Jody Flynn. He brought the deputies in on Friday to deter anything similar.

"You can’t prepare for what happened Tuesday night. It was unfortunate that it happened here. But I think that's something that happened that is not ordinary. I think it is not a reflection of the Rockford School District. It was just something that was unfortunate,” says Jody Flynn, Athletic Director at Belvidere North High School.

He adds, police aren't asked to patrol during basketball games unless Belvidere High School plays Belvidere North High School. Cops do patrol the stadium during football season. Flynn expects that after the East/ Jefferson fight, his school will review every game from now on to determine beforehand if police are needed.

The Associate Director of the IHSA says the organization has no minimum requirement for security and it is up to schools and host sites determine what security is needed.

Five players from the Jefferson team were suspended along with their coach by the IHSA. Disciplinary action against the East High School team has not been announced.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – In the aftermath of Tuesday night’s brawl, extra security is on hand for Friday’s regional final game between the J-Hawks and Huntley.

Four officers from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office are at the gym tonight, plus administrators from North as well as Jefferson and Huntley should be at the game to make sure things stay peaceful.

We spoke with the athletic director at Belvidere North who says they typically do have police at the football games but not for basketball games. Police do come to the cross town game between Belvidere’s two high school. He says in the 7 years North has been around, there hasn’t been a need for cops at the basketball games.

“I just want people coming tonight to feel safe I know what happened Tuesday night was scary... I just want people coming tonight to feel it's going to be a safe environment,” said Belvidere North Athletic Director Jody Flynn.

Flynn says the IHSA does not require schools to provide security when they host teams. Flynn says from now on, his school will take things on a game-by-game basis.

The police liaison with District 205 says the decision to have cops at Rockford games are made on a case-by-case basis. Their input was not asked for last Tuesday’s East-Jefferson game.


UPDATE: The IHSA confirms our report from Thursday night that Jefferson WILL PLAY in tonight's regional title game against Huntley. Five players and head coach Todd Brannan have been suspended. Sanctions for East will be announced later.

IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman: “This type of conduct is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. We appreciate the cooperation we have received from both schools and their support in sending the message that individuals who fight will lose the opportunity to represent their schools in IHSA events."

The Rockford Public School District reports it is complying with the IHSA's ruling regarding Tuesday's Jefferson-East basketball game. They tell us they acted ahead of the IHSA's ruling, following their student code of conduct to enact immediate disciplinary action for those involved in the unfortunate events following the game.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) --Jefferson's regional final basketball game against Huntley will be played as scheduled Friday night at Belvidere North. Despite Tuesday's on court post game fight with Rockford East. But the game will go on without many J-Hawks players and their coach.

The Illinois High School Association won't make any official announcement until Friday. Jefferson's Coach Todd Brannan told 23 Sports that he and five of his players have been suspended for Friday night's game against Huntley. A punishment that Brannan said does not fit the crime.

It's all because of this fight Tuesday night following the Jefferson and East High School Semi-Final Game at Belvidere North High School. The IHSA delayed it's ruling Thursday to review recordings like this one given to us from our friends at the Rockford Register Star and rrstar.com.

The Rockford School District already handed down punishments . According to the code of conduct, suspensions range five to ten days. Even possible expulsion depending on if a kid has been in trouble in the past.

Brannan told 23 Sports "Our kids went to shake hands to show good sportsmanship and be respectful. What are you supposed to do when you are outnumbered and security wasn't coming. Our kids had to defend themselves."

It may take awhile for East to receive their punishment because their season is over. So there aren't any time issues. Also it's expected that their punishment may be more severe since the video suggests that they initiated the fight.


UPDATE: Rockford Public Schools has been told by the IHSA that a ruling on Tuesday night's basketball brawl between East and Jefferson likely won't be available until Friday.

We will continue to keep you updated on this situation.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Two local high school basketball teams are waiting to learn their fate after a massive fight involving players, coaches, and parents at last night’s regional semi-final game between East and Jefferson. The battle was caught on camera as some attempted to break up the situation. The footage is now being reviewed by the IHSA.

District 205 administrators say the players involved could be suspended from school and their basketball teams after last night’s full court chaos at Belvidere North High School.

Administrators say the brawl started during the handshake line after the game. It’s not clear who threw the first punch or why. District 205’s Athletic Director Mat Parker says both East and Jefferson’s principals took disciplinary action at school today. According to the student code of conduct, the students involved could be suspended from school for 5-10 days.

“99.9% of the time our student athletes, coaches, community members and parents act in a professional manner. This incident does not define or depict what’s occurring in Rockford Public Schools a large majority of the time,” said Parker.

Parker says the district is working with the Boone County Sheriff’s Departmetn. He says as of now, no charges have been field. A representative from the IHSA says other repercussions would include each team going to sportsmanship programs. If both teams are suspended, Jefferson would forfeit Friday’s game. IHSA should decide each team’s punishment by tomorrow.

Video of the brawl was courtesy of our friends at the Rockford Register Star and rrstar.com.


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