HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Boys and girls basketball games between Columbia High School and Bob Jones High School Thursday night were cancelled over concerns about a possible fight at the games, police and school officials said.
Columbia High School’s principal posted the announcement on Facebook Thursday.
“The game versus Bob Jones H.S. tonight at Columbia has been cancelled,” the message read. “Due to threats that have been received of impending violence after the game in light of recent violence in Madison, the administration of Bob Jones High School had decided not to participate in tonight’s contest.”
In a message sent to parents, Madison police said they saw enough conversations on social media about a possible fight that they urged school leaders to call off the game.
On Sunday afternoon, a young man was hurt in a shooting that happened on Buttercup Lane in Madison. But this week, police couldn’t say if the online threat was any form of retaliation for the weekend shooting.
In what was supposed to be a night of big time school spirit and friendly rivalry, instead called off after some not-so-friendly chatter.
“I don’t want to say threats against anybody,” Madison city schools superintendent Robby Parker said. “There was just a lot of talk on social media about a big fight.”
Parker says after talking with police, he opted to cancel Thursday night’s match up between Bob Jones and Columbia High.
“We think most of the people who are talking about it have already graduated,” Parker said.
“Our students are safe, our spectators are safe,” Huntsville city schools superintendent Christie Finley said.
Columbia High School Clifford Porter shared a written statement with WHNT News 19:
“We have played games with Bob Jones High School for several years with no problems, both here and there at Bob Jones. Things happened in the community that are not associated with Columbia High School and it is a shame that our school must bear the brunt of something that had nothing to do with us.”
“There should be no reason or any cause for anxiety moving forward with athletic events. I think what’s happened has gotten blown way out of proportion,” Finley said.
“We certainly trust the Columbia staff. But as far as me as superintendent, sending our kids, I just felt like it’d be best if we didn’t tonight, let this die down and we’ll play again next year,” Parker said.
Parker says he doesn’t believe there’s any hostility between the Eagle and Patriot student bodies. With one game left in the season before playoffs, Parker says the game won’t be made up.
Bob Jones has one more game next week before the first round of playoffs begin.
Columbia’s senior night activities were rescheduled for Friday night, when Columbia is scheduled to host Lee High School.
When asked about the shooting on Buttercup Lane, Madison Police say they have persons of interest, but haven’t yet arrested anyone.