New Jersey City University has suspended head women's basketball coach Robyn Burton and her entire staff for the rest of the 2017-18 season following two brawls between her team and the women's team from York (N.Y.) earlier this month. Men's basketball assistant and former player Jourdan Roberson has been named acting head coach.
NJCU University Statement released Monday
"Following a December 13 incident in which New Jersey City University’s Women’s Basketball team hosted York College of the City University of New York at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center at NJCU, in which an on-court altercation later led to an off-court incident outside the facility by members of the NJCU Women’s Basketball team and players from York, the University has issued the following statement:
An investigation into the December 13 altercation is ongoing. The Women’s Basketball team received no sanction from the NCAA. The University has suspended the entire team from its next regularly scheduled game. Based on additional information learned today, the University has suspended the Women’s Basketball Coach and has relieved her of her coaching duties pending further investigation.
Due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, the University is unable to provide additional comment at this time."
The fights took place near the end and following a game between New Jersey City and York on Wednesday, Dec. 13 played at NJCU. The first fight, seen in the video below, took place with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game won by York 70-61. The second fight took place about 30 or more minutes outside the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center. There are reportedly no cameras in the area where the second fight took place.
In a statement released Monday from an NJCU spokesperson, the investigation into the incident is ongoing. "The University has suspended the entire team from its next regularly scheduled game. Based on additional information learned (Monday), the University has suspended the Women’s Basketball Coach and has relieved her of her coaching duties pending further investigation."
According to reporting by the Jersey Journal (NJ.com), one of the fights led to a York student-athlete suffering a concussion and accusations that Burton attacked a York player and "bit the student's finger."
York College (N.Y.) Statement
York College is deeply alarmed by the events involving our Women’s Basketball Team in Jersey City on Wednesday, December 13, 2017. Our team traveled to Jersey City for a regularly-scheduled game with the Women’s Basketball team of New Jersey City University. At the end of the game, an altercation broke out on the court, involving many players of both teams. A further confrontation occurred as York College’s players were attempting to board their bus and leave the campus, resulting in injuries to several of York College’s players. York College is taking steps to address the needs of the students affected by this event, and has expressed its serious concerns about the conduct of New Jersey City University’s student-athletes, coaches and security staff to their administration, as well as the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and the Jersey City Police Department. York College is confident that appropriate action will be taken.
Above all else, York College places the safety and welfare of its students and staff as paramount. We are committed to taking all steps necessary to ensure that an event like this does not happen in the future. York College is appreciative of the efforts of staff present at this event, who stepped in to protect our athletes.
In the NJ.com report, York College Assistant Athletic Director and Sports Information Director John Scarinci stated Karen Bellamy will miss several weeks due to a concussion. The senior guard leads the team (3-6) with 17.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game.
In a statement to D3hoops.com, York College says they are "deeply alarmed by the events involving our Women's Basketball Team in Jersey City." The statement continued, "At the end of the game, an altercation broke out on the court, involving many players of both teams. A further confrontation occured as York College's players were attempting to boar their bus and leave the campus, resulting in injuries to several of York College's players. York College is taking steps to address the needs of the students affected by the event."
NJCU has put Roberson in charge of their women's team (0-9) moving forward. Roberson played two years for the Gothic Knights and was named captain in both seasons. He is the school's all-time career leader in free throw percentage (.856) and was a first team academic All-NJAC selection his senior season. Roberson graduated in 2015 and has been an assistant coach for the men's program for three seasons. He will also continue to be an assistant for the Gothic Knights' men's program.
Roberson will have some time to prepare for his new role. After cancelling the Dec. 16 game at SUNY-Old Westbury, the team has also cancelled its Dec. 27 game at Staten Island and its conference matchup with Montclair State on Jan. 3. According to a university spokesperson, the Montclair State game was canceled so Roberson could get more time to work with the women's team. The school may also cancel or postpone its game at Rowan currently scheduled for Jan. 6.
The canceled conference games will be classified as "conference forfeits" meaning the overall records for the teams involved will not be affected, but Montclair State (and possibly Rowan) will receive a win in the NJAC standings. NJCU will have the game classified as a loss.
The status of the players involved has not been determined due to the ongoing investigation.