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Prairie View Loses Big Off the Field

October 06, 1998|From Associated Press

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas — Nine days after breaking its NCAA record 80-game football losing streak, Prairie View A&M suffered its most agonizing defeat to date: The athletics program was suspended indefinitely from the Southwestern Athletic Conference on Monday because the university violated an earlier two-game suspension of its marching band.

The penalty prohibits Prairie View from playing any SWAC team in any sport until the suspension is lifted, the conference said.

Prairie View has appealed the decision, according to Larry Raab, the school's vice president of operations.

"We feel the punishment is unjust, and we'll take all actions required to seek a just remedy," Raab said.

Of Prairie View's six remaining football games, five are against SWAC teams.

Panther Coach Greg Johnson declined comment.

The penalty stems from a band brawl during halftime of Prairie View's Sept. 19 game against conference rival Southern University in Beaumont, Texas.

The conference ordered a two-game suspension of both bands after the brawl. Southern's band honored the suspension, but the Prairie View band--after sitting out against Langston--played during Saturday's game in Dallas against Grambling State.

The violation left conference officials with no choice but to impose a harsh penalty, SWAC Commissioner Rudy Washington said.

"We were extremely disappointed to see Prairie View A&M blatantly disregard the rules and regulations of the Southwestern Athletic Conference," Washington said.

The penalty also was imposed because Prairie View President Charles Hines refused to retract orders to his staff to forfeit any pending games against Southern and never again play the school.

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