Cairo barred from next year's state tournament

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- The Illinois High School Association on Tuesday suspended Cairo High School from participating in the boys basketball state tournament next season and placed it on probation for the entire next school year for its involvement in a brawl that broke out after a playoff game with Massac County.

Cairo can be reinstated if it meets several conditions laid out by the IHSA.

The IHSA issued several other penalties to Cairo while ruling that Massac County officials "acted appropriately in dealing with a very difficult and troublesome incident" at the end of Massac County's upset victory over Cairo in the regional championship Feb. 27.

"This is not the first time Cairo High School has been involved in an incident after a basketball game. This behavior must be addressed and corrected immediately," IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said in a statement released on the IHSA's Web site.

Three officers used pepper spray to break up the crowd after the brawl, which sent a coach and a cheerleader to the hospital.

According to the IHSA investigation, a Cairo cheerleader threw a plastic bottle that struck the school's coach, Larry Baldwin, on the head, knocking him to the ground and causing a cut that needed stitches.

An unnamed Cairo assistant coach then pushed a Massac County player and that same player was then struck in the face by a woman, setting off the melee.

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