VSU hires lawyer to investigate QB beating

HANK KURZ Jr. (AP Sports Writer)
CORRECTS SCHOOL TO VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY, NOT NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY, AND LOCATION TO ETTRICK, NOT PETERSBURG - Virginia State University head football coach, Latrell Scott, left, and athletic director, Peggy Davis, center, listen as VSU president Keith T. Miller, right, address a press conference at Virginia State University in Ettrick, Va., Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. School officials held the press conference to answer questions after Winston-Salem quarterback Rudy Johnson was beaten in a bathroom brawl Friday, Nov. 15 that led to VSU being banned from post season play. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia State has hired a lawyer to investigate the fight that led to the cancellation of the CIAA championship football game and to the university being banned from postseason play.

A release posted on VSU's website Wednesday states that the school has retained sports and entertainment attorney Robert Clayton of the Washington, D.C., law firm Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP.

''We are committed to uncovering the facts surrounding this incident,'' VSU President Keith T. Miller said in the release. He also said that Clayton's investigation should take no more than two weeks to complete.

The school pointed out that Clayton has served as counsel to the National Basketball Players Association and National Football League Players Association. He also has represented universities appearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions and Appeals Committee as lead counsel and as an adviser.

Winston-Salem State quarterback Rudy Johnson has said as many as six VSU players attacked him during the luncheon Nov. 15, the day before the scheduled championship contest..

Virginia State running back Lamont Daniel Britt is charged with misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury. VSU coach Latrell Scott has said that four other players were questioned after the fight.

The schools on Monday painted vastly different pictures of what took place in the bathroom where Johnson said he was beaten, and CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter on Tuesday asked both schools to provide the league with written reports about the incident and the details uncovered by their investigations.

Johnson said on Monday he expects to play Saturday when WSSU, given the No. 4 seed in its region, hosts fifth-seeded Slippery Rock in the first round of the Division II playoffs.

WSSU Chancellor Donald Reaves on Monday called for further sanctions against Virginia State and said Scott exacerbated the problem after the fight because he ''refused to cooperate and ... came very close on Friday afternoon to being arrested'' for obstruction. He also said Scott, in his first year at Virginia Union, ''went completely berserk'' when asked to provide Miller's contact information after the fight.

Miller, however, said in a letter distributed Wednesday that Scott ''has exhibited the dignity, leadership, and resilience that have characterized his tenure at VSU'' in the aftermath of the fight.

''On November 15, 2013, one young man made a very bad decision,'' Miller's said in the release. ''That bad decision cannot and will not be condoned. However, we wholeheartedly support our head football coach, our football coaching staff, and most importantly our football players.''


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