MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - LeMoyne-Owen College and Lane College basketball players met off the hardwood to kick off a series of activities meant to heal the athletics rift and unify the student bodies of both institutions at a luncheon Thursday, February 9 at the National Civil Rights Museum.
In addition to touring the museum, student athletes heard from legendary former head coach Jerry C. Johnson, who coached the Magicians for over 40 years. Johnson shed light on the illustrious history of athletic competition between the schools.
The luncheon followed a brawl that occurred on January 14 in Bruce Hall between the two teams. Alumni described the night as aggressive with lots of fouls. Players began throwing punches on the court during the first quarter after a player got tripped. The court was then swarmed with people trying to break up the fight.
"The luncheon represents a meeting of the minds and hearts that we hope will lay the foundation for abiding sportsmanship on and off the court going forward," LeMoyne-Owen College President Dr. Andrea Lewis Miller said.
"I'm proud of the work the players, coaches and staff of both institutions have done to provide the players this opportunity to engage in dialogue in such a productive and collegial manner," Miller added.
"We value our rivalry with Lane, our sister HBCU," Magicians head coach William Anderson said. "The incident Jan. 14 was an unfortunate one that I hope will spark a relationship between our schools that is positive and unprecedented."
The activities lined up ahead of the matchup at Lane College Feb. 11 include a Leadership Summit for the members of the Student Government Associations and Royal Court of both institutions at Lane College Feb. 11 at 9 a.m.
Both colleges have agreed to replay the canceled Jan. 14th game on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14 in Bruce Hall on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College. Tipoff is 3 p.m. The game will be open to students, faculty and staff from both institutions with current campus ID only.