Altercation at Polk/Landrum basketball game ends in arrest

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Polk Monday games cancelled; varsity boys will not play all week

LANDRUM-Just 48 hours after an incident at the Polk County basketball game at North Buncombe, another altercation occurred at the Polk County and Landrum basketball game on Friday, Dec. 15.

Because of investigations into both incidents, all Polk County High School basketball games were postponed on Monday, Dec. 18 and other games this week will only see JV boys and girls and varsity girls playing.

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“The decision was made in the wake of incidents last week involving the Polk County men’s basketball team in games at North Buncombe and Landrum,” states a release from Andy Rhinehart at “District and school officials noted that the decision to not participate in this week’s men’s varsity games was made in order to provide ample time to complete investigations of both incidents.”

An altercation occurred at the close of the Polk County vs. Landrum varsity men’s game Friday night in Landrum. A Polk County student was arrested on charges of assault and battery. The Bulletin is not naming the student because of his age. The Landrum Police Department has responded that officers will not comment on the arrest at this time.

Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene said Polk County and Spartanburg District One Schools are in the process of analyzing events that took place immediately following Polk High and Landrum men’s varsity basketball game at Landrum High School on Dec. 15.

“Officials from both schools and districts are working together on this investigation,” said Greene.

The Bulletin also reached out to District One Schools regarding Friday night’s incident.

Chief Communications Officer for District One Sandra Williams said there was an incident Friday night possibly following the men’s varsity basketball game. The school system is still in the process of reviewing details, gathering statements and going through information, including a video, according to Williams.

Williams also said the school had the usual law enforcement officials on hand and could not confirm if any arrests were made.

During the Wednesday, Dec. 13 Polk County game in Weaverville against North Buncombe High School, a fight occurred between a Polk County JV player and a North Buncombe student, according to reports. Polk County residents who attended the game have reported there were racial slurs being made by North Buncombe fans. The varsity men’s game was halted at halftime at North Buncombe and Polk players went home and forfeited the game.

Greene said following the North Buncombe game that school officials elected to suspend play and end the game before the second half. Greene also said Polk and North Buncombe school officials are working together to investigate the matter thoroughly.

A petition was started in Polk County following the North Buncombe game, where some Polk residents are asking the North Carolina Athletic Association to ban North Buncombe from games until they clean house and get rid of racist people in their school and athletic programs. As of Monday, Dec. 18 at 1:30 p.m., the petition had 15,530 supporters, 595 of those from North Carolina. Rashawn Cunningham also held a Unity Movement at Stearns Park in Columbus on Friday and Saturday, following the North Buncombe game, in support of students dealing with racism.

The Bulletin reached out to North Buncombe High School officials Monday to see if action had been taken regarding last week’s incident but did not hear back by press time.

North Buncombe High School sent a statement on Friday, Dec. 15 regarding Wednesday’s game saying there was an altercation between a North Buncombe and Polk student in the concession area outside the gym during halftime of the varsity men’s game and the situation was handled swiftly and appropriately per school policy. The school also said both school systems are working together to interview students and staff and are cooperatively looking into the incident.

Polk County’s basketball game schedule this week included games at Chase Monday that are being rescheduled. Today, Tuesday, Dec. 19, JV men’s and women and varsity women will play at Polk County High School and Wednesday, Dec. 20 JV men’s and women’s and varsity women will play at East Henderson.

Following is the official statement sent from District One Schools late Monday:

“Spartanburg School District One officials are currently gathering statements and reviewing multiple sources of information from Friday night’s Landrum vs. Polk County men’s basketball game. We are working together with Polk County to take appropriate actions to ensure that we continue to uphold our high standard of good sportsmanship in all athletic events.”