SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – An online petition asking for Beach High School to be allowed to participate in the state girls basketball playoffs has garnered well over 1,000 signatures in less than a day.
The petition is in response to the Savannah Chatham County Public School Systems’ decision to disqualify both Beach and Savannah High Schools after an on-court fight that immediately followed a region semifinal game.
“The Beach High School Lady Bulldogs have worked hard to make it to the state tournament,” the petition states in part. “We do not condone the actions on Thursday night between them and Savannah High, but when is it too much? They have been stripped of their title as number one in the region; why take away the chance to compete for the state as well?”
In its decision to suspend both teams for two games – effectively ending both team’s season because of the time at which it occurred – SCCPSS cited the Georgia High School Association’s rules on sportsmanship, the relevant text of which states:
(d) Each school must develop a plan to handle fight situations that may occur during an athletic contest. (1) Attention must be given to keeping substitutes in the bench areas throughout the fight, and to keeping spectators away from the competitive area.
(2) Schools whose substitutes leave the bench area to go to the area of a fight will be fined by the GHSA Executive Director.
(3) All players who are involved in a fight and any substitutes who leave the bench area during a fight or potential fight and are ejected from the current contest, will be subject to the sit-out rule.
Any player, coach, or team attendant who is ejected from a GHSA contest shall be suspended from all levels of competition (i.e., varsity or sub-varsity) in that sport or activity (regular season or playoffs) until the period of suspension has expired.
(d) The period of suspension resulting from an ejection will expire as follows:
(5) All Other Activities: after the individual has been withheld from the next two (2) scheduled contests at the level at which the ejection occurred.
The Class AAA girls basketball playoffs start on Tuesday, Feb. 23.