IOWA CITY, Iowa – A non-conference boys basketball game between Iowa City High and Fairfield High ended with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Monday night. It resulted from a physical altercation involving players from each team.
Iowa City Community School District officials stated in an email sent to families Tuesday that the Little Hawks received a police escort to the locker room, the bus and out of Fairfield following the incident.
The district’s email also stated that “during the game, an official directed a racially-charged comment toward our coach. The Iowa City Community School District never condones racism. We stand by our students and staff of color. We are also addressing an incident of physical aggression and helping our students learn better ways to handle a volatile situation.”
Your Prep Sports reached out to City High head basketball coach Brennan Swayzer via email on Tuesday. He declined further comment beyond the statement released by the district.
Monday night’s game officials were supplied by the Iowa City Athletic Officials Association (ICAOA). The group released a statement on the incident Tuesday.
“The officials involved categorically deny making any such statements. In fact, it’s completely out
of character for all of them, and they are shocked and hurt by the accusation”
The ICAOA, which has worked with the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) since 1970, expressed disappointment in the district releasing the charge before first contacting it.
“It’s concerning that the school district would put out a statement accusing the on-court officials
of making racially charged comments without first speaking to the officials or the association.
Accusations like this deserve to be fully investigated by the appropriate governing bodies and
we welcome such an investigation and our members will fully cooperate.”
Iowa Public Radio’s Zachary Oren Smith was first to report the incident after receiving the ICCSD’s email Tuesday. He received a statement from Dr. Laurie Noll, Superintendent of the Fairfield Community School District.
I just spoke with the Fairfield superintendent who offered the following statement. pic.twitter.com/OCT3xdpG14
— Zachary Oren Smith (@ZacharyOS) January 24, 2023
The Fairfield Community School District released another statement on Wednesday:
In light of some of the publicity and inaccurate reports about the gym environment and police involvement at the Fairfield vs. Iowa City, City High Boys Varsity Basketball game on Monday, January 23, 2023, FCSD is compelled to provide clarification that demonstrates our community values and the happenings that lead to the end of the game.
FCSD supports a safe environment for all, including our competitors. We commend the Fairfield and City High student bodies, athletes, coaches, and staff for demonstrating both of our community values of inclusion, safety, and respect during the game and subsequent events following the game. Despite a charged atmosphere that included the ejections of a coach, spectator, and a player altercation, Fairfield and City High students and fans followed instructions avoiding additional interactions. Fairfield and City High administrators and staff took great care to de-escalate the situation.
FCSD is aware that Iowa City, City High School administration has contacted the Iowa High School Athletic Association regarding allegations surrounding the communication between game officials and the City High basketball coaches. FCSD is willing to provide any information that might be able to assist in an investigation.
After the altercation involving players, Fairfield administrators decided that the teams should take a 5-minute break in the locker rooms to allow the coaches time to regroup and calm the players. Fairfield administrators safely escorted City High coaches and players to a locker room. At this time, the City High coaches and administration decided it would be best to forfeit the game. Following the decision to forfeit, FHS administration safely escorted City High coaches and players from the locker room to their bus.
Fairfield police were called at the end of the game to support the safety of all individuals. The police did not enter the building during this event. Fairfield Police stayed at the high school and were present when the City High team was boarding the bus, and an Iowa State Patrol trooper offered to follow the bus out of town and did so without incident.