Eight Monticello Boys Players Set To Serve One-game Suspension

Eight Monticello boys players set to serve one-game suspension

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After a video review and investigation of Tuesday’s incident at Monticello High during the third quarter of the school’s varsity basketball game with Charlottesville High between members of each team, it appears eight Monticello players will serve a one-game suspension for leaving the bench area during the contest.

Upon video review it was determined that no Charlottesville players exited the bench area before the teams went to the locker room and the gym was cleared.

That video review included a representative from the Virginia High School League giving an opinion on the matter after reviewing the tape. The League’s representative agreed that nothing between the players — outside of the Monticello bench stepping on the court — warranted a suspension. There was no punching or fighting that necessitated action.

The players could’ve and should’ve been ejected by the officials present at the game. According to Barnes, there is some precedent for the VHSL to step in and over rule the officials after the fact if that wasn’t done, but Monticello went ahead and volunteered to suspend the players for one game without any VHSL action.

“A lot of them didn’t know the rule and after I explained it to them they understood,” Barnes said. “Those eight players will not play in our next varsity contest.”

With no players suspended, Charlottesville will have a full roster in Friday’s Jefferson District quarterfinal when the Black Knights host Louisa County at 7:30 p.m.

Monticello is slated to play George Wythe High in Richmond tonight at 5:30 in a game that was added this week.

“We needed to help our winning percentage in the region,” Barnes said.  “The VHSL allows you to play 22 games and we’d played 20. There are a few teams locked around 15-7 and 15-8 and overall winning percentage (can) determine seeding.”

Barnes also noted the Mustangs, which won seven in a row coming into the eventual Tuesday forfeit, were eager to get a game in instead of waiting until Wednesday to play again.

Inclement weather forced the cancellation of a game on January 21 against an Evergreen District opponent.

“We were scheduled to play Fauquier and we tried to set that up this week, but they’re in a district playoff,” Barnes said. “So we called George Wythe.”

The game will be played by several original members of the varsity roster prior to the eight one-game suspensions that were handed down, the players who were not suspended based on video evidence and a group of junior varsity players. The suspended eight players who left the bench area Tuesday during the incident against Charlottesville will in turn be eligible for the Mustangs’ Jefferson District tournament semifinal game at Western Albemarle Wednesday against the Powhatan/Western winner in the quarterfinals.


Embarrassed Mustang

As a long time parent and Monticello High School Athletic Booster I am embarrassed by what I read above and what is happening as a result of the unfortunate incident on Tuesday night. It appears that a hastily arranged MHS varsity basketball game against George Wythe High School will occut tonight in Richmond. JV and non-suspended players were informed of this yesterday afternoon. There has been no public announcement or advertisement of the contest that I am aware of.

Mr. Barnes' comments above appear to be coy and purposely lacking specific information about a game he knew had been scheduled. Why would he respond this way? I believe he chose to respond this way because he knew the decision to add a game is of questionable integrity. Western and Fluvana suffered the consequence of their rules violations a year ago during the post-season tournament. Why should MHS be any different?

I am sad and embarrassed becuase I think this makes our school look bad. I have supported Mr. Barnes and the MHS Athletic Department over the years and through situations where it appeared that, at best, we were operating in a gray area regarding rules and ethics. My choice was to give Mr. Barnes and the Athletic Department the benefit of the doubt. This incident and, more pointedly, the response of Mr. Barnes is the final straw for me. Our kids and our community deserve better than the message that is being sent here. When you make a mistake and receive a punishment you don't like ot that might cost you a win...find a loophole, keep it on the down-low, and laugh about later after you have gotten what you wanted. Mr. Barnes, Principal Worley, and their supervisors should be ashamed of this decison.



Well stated

I could not agree more.

What are we teaching our kids

Monticello high will play a team in richmond tonight. A game that has no meaning. What are we teaching our kids? That its a way around anything even when you mess up. Its a shame.



I thought the JD tourney was the next game??

I guess this just proves that there really is a way to beat the system!!

WOW!!! What a message that

What a message that sends!!!!
Congrats to the AD and basketball coach on teaching these kids alesson!!!!!!!!!!

who does Barnes think he's

who does Barnes think he's fooling?

being handled very differently by the two schools...

Monticello's players all leave the bench, which helped lead to the game being cancelled. 8 kids get suspended for a game, so they went and added a game in reaction to that and get the whole team back for the JD playoffs.

Charlottesville's players all stayed on the bench. No JD or VHSL suspensions, although word is that the Coach is sending a message by benching players that were involved with the jawing and pushing.

I definitely admire how Coach Minor and handled things during the game and afterwards.

Are you kidding me? Last

Are you kidding me? Last year both regular season champions forfeit their quarterfinal victories for letting a couple of JV kids play for 30 seconds (which was techinically the right thing to do), and Monticello just "schedules" a a game to make their suspensions go away. I am sure playing a 2-19 team will be a huge help when the regionals start. If high school athletics doesn't teach our young people to "do things the right way", then what purpose do they serve? I am shocked that Monticello parents, and the Jefferson District as a whole can support this decision. Someone needs to ask some tough questions over at Monticello about the message being sent.


Last year, Fluvanna played a few JV players in a game in the first round of the district tournament (something that many teams in the district have done for years). There was outrage! The VHSL held a special hearing and the Flucos were unable to compete in the remainder of the tournament, denying the team a chance to win both the regular season championship and a tournament championship and adding a loss to their stellar record. The team and it's supporters were upset, but they accepted their punishment with dignity and class! There were no deals made or questionable dealings and the players learned quite a lesson. How sad it is to see a fellow school tarnish their image in this way and in the process send a terrible message to their athletes that they are above reproach! Where are the MHS administrators in this process??

wow! What a message that

What a message that sends!!!!!!!!!!!!
Congrats to the AD and basketball coach

The little respect that I had

The little respect that I had for the A.D., the assistant A.D.,the staff and,administrative staff just went out the window. Shame on you for teaching kids to cheat the system.

Come on, reporters

When did SP get these quotes from Barnes? Today (Thursday)? Did you ask specifically when the Wythe game was scheduled?


A few things that stick out here.

1- You must give the AD credit for doing all he can for his teams after all he is an Athletic Director not a peace maker.

2- The winning percentage statement makes little sense as the pairing requirments for regionals stays that the 2nd tie breaker is overall district winning percentage and since Georgy Wyth is not in the Jefferson this means little to nothing in the end.

3- The game that was cancelled with Faquier was also canceled for the girls team, the Monticello girls team is in 2nd place in the district and looking at the same situation for regional play so did they play tonight also?

4- It says in this article that this game was scheduled this week, did it really mean last night or today? If Monticello would have defeated Charlottesville and Louisa would have defeated Fluvanna then Monticello would have been in a playoff with Fluvanna as well.

Like my first statement said you must say that Monticello's AD does all he can to give his teams a better chance and at the end of the day that is his job and until someone can stop him from doing so Monticello will continue to be looked at as a pure athletic school.


Adding this last second meaningless game so the players can serve their suspension and still be eligible for the tourney is a complete fraud. So much for teaching athletes responsibility and integrity. Teach 'em instead to take short cuts and game the system. Shame on the Monticello AD and Principal for orchestrating this.


Last year, Fluvanna played a few JV players in the first round of the districts in the last minutes of a game they were winning by almost 40. This has been a common practice in the district, but it was against the rules. There was outrage! The VHSL was so concerned that they held a hearing and decided the Flucos were not allowed to compete in the rest of the JD tournament, denying the team a chance to finish as district regular-season and tournament champions and adding a loss to their stellar record. The team and it's supporters we're upset, but they accepted their punishment with dignity and class! There were no shady deals made or attempts to manipulate the system and the players learned quite a lesson, although a painful one. How sad it is to see a fellow JD school tarnish their image in this way and in the process send a terrible message to their athletes that because they play a sport they are above reproach! Where are the MHS and Albemarle County administrators in this process??


What an embarrassment to Alb. Co. Schools!! I have absolutely no respect for the Monticello A.D. who pulled such a stunt to override the entire system, and no respect for the Administration who lets him get away with it (or condones this). This was a VHSL event and when it was mishandled by both schools -- they should have stepped in and done the right thing. Especially when Monticello obviously doesn't know what the right thing is. What a great example you set for your student athletes. I'm embarrassed for you and your program.

Proud to be a Fluco

I don't think I have ever been more proud to be a Fluco than I am right now. Our school, coaches and players are a class act!

Lets Be REAL

Let's be real, this is not about Morality. If Monticello was 1-19 no one would care who they played and when. I disagreed with any suspension, the kids that left the bench did not even sprint on the floor. Unlike previous bench clearing, the MHS kids were trying to get the player out of the way. Secondly, officials should have shared more of the blame for all of this chaos.

I'm Just Saying....

I personally don't have anything to do with this, but let's face this, Monticello's AD is the most get it Done guy in Central, Virginia. I was very impressed with the way he handled the incident Tuesday night. It was quite impressive watching him interact with the student body by giving them pizza and thanking them for their support.


It's pretty obvious that some people are clueless. The Monticello Girls basketball did not play fauquier this year. Also, overall winning percentage does affect seeding in the regionals after you seed the district champion. Secondly, ask yourself the following questions? Did Monticello break any VHSL Rules? Third, there are plenty of schools that add games during the regular season. This happens in Indoor Track and wrestling all of the time.


Lets break down the Seeding Criteria for you so you know before you go on here calling people clueless.

Tiebreaking Seed Criteria:

#1- Head to Head Results
#2- Regular Season Winning % in DISTRICT games only
#3- Winning % versus common opponents
#4- OVERALL winning % (guess it didn't help beings Monticello lost anyway)
#5- Total wins for the regular season
#6- Coin Flip

And for the statement about the Monticello girls did not play Faquier, yes you are correct because that is the same game that the boys did not play. So if the boys played it then why didn't the girls. Both teams are in second place in the district heading into the tournament, both teams had an open game, so my question to you is this... why did the guys play but the girls didn't?

I agree the AD did not break any rules in this at all, he is working harder and smarter than any other AD to best provide for his teams and I also agree that adding events happens in every sport. My only thing is let's just be honest as to why the game was added and stop giving excuses.

Food for Thought

Flucos, Warriors and Black Knights; what a short memory do you have. Don't blame a guy for doing what is best for his program. That same guy was the reason that all of you have turf fields. The Charlottesville area went from having one turf field to now having 5.


What a Joke

The Albemarle County School System and School Board should be embarrased by this whole situation. "It wasn't really a fight" "MY kids were going about 1.2 miles an hour." The non-serious attitude about the incident exhibited by Mr. Barnes is appalling. Trash talking from both sides, intentionally hard fouls all around, the game was stopped, parents came on the floor, police had to separate fans. And what happens? Nothing. "Voluntary" suspensions served in a meaningless, hasitly scheduled last minute game JUST so there would be no real ramifications for the team. Why does each county high school have to have full time athletic directors? With a $4.9million budget deficit staring them in the face, the school board should start by getting rid of these positions.

More Informed / Experienced

In an effort to shed a little light on this whole situation I will say this.... The integrity of this decision will be the subject of various different opinions for some time to come....But that is just it ....OPINIONS.. Here are some facts and experienced assumptions....

1. According to the VHSL Contest Limitation Rule a specific sports team has a certain number of regular season contest they may play no matter when the game is scheduled...

2. AD's move, schedule and reschedule games all the time for various different situations...ie bad weather, mis-communication, prepare for post-season, lag time over spring break etc....

3. The aforementioned game and timing therein obviously could possibly benefit the Mustang Team by allowing them to enter the tournament with all players available....

4. Although this wasn't the case, I know for a fact that coaches and AD's will sometimes leave a little wiggle room in their schedule in case there is a tournament that they want to play in at the last minute, or a game that they want to pick up...

5. Some Basketball Coaches (especially at schools that often go to the playoffs in football will purposely schedule less games and take those games off of the beginning of the season so that they won't have to end up rescheduling them anyway......

6. The issue at the game was not a bench clearing "brawl" Their were two questionable pushes by 2 CHS players and 1 MHS Player on the floor. MHS players on the bench stood up and walked onto the floor (which is a violation).... To my knowledge if that would have been the end of it, two technical fouls were going to be called on the CHS players and the game would have resumed...

Things got hairy when about 3-4 adults (apparent family members of players from both sides) made their way onto the playing floor. That issue and a plastic Bottle being thrown from the CHS Student section in my opinion were the worst events of the night. Take away the bad decision making by a few spectators and the game would have went on...

7. The comment about Monticello being viewed as a purely an athletic school in reality is a over - presumptuous opinion...I know that a great number of people in the area may feel that way but in actuality, Western Albemarle has won more overall championships than not just the public schools in central VA, but they historically have been one of the best in Group AA period. Monticello does receive a lot of attention but a great deal of that has been attributed to success in obviously the most publicized sport, football; and a few great runs by other teams such as Baseball a few years back and Cross-country success as of late to name a few....... The first public school in the area to have a turf - field and other more administrative type issues have created this perception as well,,

I can tell you that MHS is about way more than athletics....It is a school that...

Embraces Diversity on every level,
Has a cutting Edge Fine Arts Department
Teachers that embrace teaching ALL students including but not limited to...AP, Special Ed, Dual Enrollment, ESOL, Black, White, Rich, Poor, you name it....

The bottom line is this...Please stop making this out to be more than it really is....a physical JD Basketball game between two athletic teams that had to be stopped because spectators made poor decisions....and then the RIDICULOUS and extremely inaccurate media attention that followed.

An AD may or may not have made a decision that was perfectly within the rules to give his team a chance in the post-season that they deserve. (If the parents feel that it is questionable then don't let the kids play in the game)

As far as lessons go Central VA How about lets stop teaching our children that if they have something negative to say about something or someone then it is perfectly OK to BLAST people on a message board while hiding behind a computer and a screen name......

Agreed with most of your points

Here is where I agree with you:

MHS is a wonderful school.. To say that MHS is an athletic school only is ludacris at best. MHS has state championships in Football only (to my knowledge) and suspends players if they do not meet academic or class requirements. I have personally seen that. MHS is becoming more successful in their sports programs overall and that makes people angry! You always want to beat the best... or one of the best!

The parents of the players took this to the wrong level and because the media blew it way out of proportion.. it became what it is today.. A three headed monster

Social media before the game started this mess as well. It is my opinion that the coaches and the AD/administrators need to get on their student athletes and tell them to quit with the "smack" talk on facebook and twitter. That blew up big time and lead to a lot of the "bad blood"

The MHS players that left the bench never threw any punches, most were trying to calm things down.. unfortunately as you stated, once they crossed the line, they fell under immediate suspension.

Where we disagree:

No matter how you look at it, the game with GW last night was purely scheduled to make sure that MHS had all their players for the JD tourney. Was it done legally.. ABSOLUTELY!! Was it done morally? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! That's where most of the differences of opinion and angst thrown on the MHS administration is coming from.

Also.. you have just joined that "internet cowboy" status you just spoke about, Don't cast stones at people for making opinions on a PUBLIC ANONOMYOUS opinion board! This is why we have forums like this! Last time I heard, freedom of speech is in the constitution! Did that change?

Hey Agreed

Under the paragraphs "Where we disagree....."

I never said the game wasn't scheduled for that reason, actually I did post that the suspensions were the major benefit of playing the game...I was not trying to hide that fact at all by stating that games are often changed and or added for many different reasons at the discretion of the head coach and AD.

"Internet Cowboy" are your words not mine.....I have no problem with anonymous message boards just people that use them to negatively bash other people or programs.

And you are right Freedom of speech is in the constitution....but the fact that MHS may play up to 22 contest during the regular season is in The VHSL handbook as well.


Good Luck to The Flucos, Warriors, Knights, Indians, Lions, as well as the Mustangs in Next Week's Tourney.

Local Media....(Except Scrimmage Play)..Get your facts straight before you air our Dirty Laundry to the world!!!!

Over and Out

Clarification of some major points

I think we are missing the point here: The adults in this situtaion didn't "teach" the young men in their care a lesson about consequences.
That being said, let me clear up a few things on here that I think are important and need addressing.

1) Regional seeding is decided by head to head results first, then district only winning percentage, and then overall winning percentage. Adding a game (which they lost by the way) with a non-district team, would have had very little chance of being a factor in the regional seedings.

2) It is not common practice for basketball teams to add games like this at the end of the season. In fact, unless it was a district game that was missed due to weather, the practice in the past has been to cancel the game (not add a new one)

3) Monticello still had a chance to play Fluvanna on Thursday night, if the two teams had finished tied in the regular season standings. No one, and I mean no one, could have known before Tuesday night at 9:30 whether or not that game would have been played. So, I find it hard to believe that Monticello was planning to play a non-district game instead of a Jefferson District regular season championship game.

4) The reason Monticello suspended those players was not their own doing. The rules of the VHSL clearly state that anyone leaving the bench area during an altercation is to serve a minimum one-game suspension. Those players had to be suspended by the rules. The question should be: Do we approve of adding a game just to get around the rules? To pretend that this game was added for any other reason is degrading to the conversation.

5) Monticello's girls team does have additional games that they could play. They did not play their full 22 either. I would assume that they as well could have used an additional game.

6) As far as I know, Fluvanna's turf field was paid for by their school board. I don't believe the Monticello athletic department contriubed any funds to that project. In fact, I don't believe the Monticello athletic department donated to any of the other turf field projects.

The entire incident is a shame, and yes, their are lots of adults that can share in the blame. But at the end of the day, shouldn't we all be more worried about what our young men are learning out of this experience? High school athletics is suppose to teach hard work, committment, dedication, integrity, and class. Don't lose sight of the real discussion.

a slightly different perspective from an MHS hoops parent

Fitzgerald Barnes went to bat for his kids and exhausted every option allowed by VHSL and District rules to allow them to participate in post season play. He did so under the watchful eye of the VHSL, the principal of the school and the Albemarle County School board. He found a solution to a complex problem with complete transparency with all parties involved in the decision.
Was he creative and exhaustive in his approach to the problem? Absolutely.

He did exactly what both the Fluvanna and Western Albemarle Athletic directors did last year during the Jefferson District tournament. Make no mistake, last year Scott Morris and Steve Heon did everything within their power to allow their kids to play in the tournament, and they should have, they were executing their job duties. Unfortunately, those kids were denied a chance to participate last year. This year’s events were based on a completely different set of circumstances and governed by different rules.

Here are parts of the message Fitz and Dr. Worley clearly sent to their kids.
a) Play within the rules of the game. There are repercussions for your actions even in a situation where you had no ill intent and ignorance of a rule is no defense.
b) Work within the rules of the game. Life presents issues that are shrouded in complexity and that extreme thinking or solutions (either A or Z, one end of the spectrum or the other) are rarely appropriate or effective. Be creative.
c) We’ve got your back.
d) Stick together

Here are a few lessons reiterated for me and that I hope the kids learn.
a) Don’t believe everything ….. What you read in the newspaper and hear on the news can and will be distorted and sensationalized in order to sell a product. (2/8 Dan Shute "large and heavily involved fight" 2/10 Daily progress front page teaser called the incident a "brawl") Only Scrimmage play's initial report was representative of what happened.
d) People who have limited information can and will resort to righteous indignation when condemning you or your actions (Kids, ignore their ignorance of the situation and realize that they have a right to an opinion)
c) Deal with it. Adults and authority figures will let you down. (two ineffective officials, one polarizing official, whacky parents on the court and those who comment on news stories)

Don't hate the player hate

Don't hate the player hate the game. I applaud Fitz for playing within the rules. The Flucos and Western Alb. is mad because they don't have and AD that cares and undersatnd the rules. He found a way to keep his players hope a live. Cudos to you BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No Comparison

How can you even compare this situation to the situation of Fluvanna and Western last year? It was a matter of JV players sitting on a bench in post-season play -- not an out of control, almost dangerous, situation that occurred at MHS. You all can keep downplaying this whole thing and condone the actions of your AD to your athletes -- but the rest of us are not as easily fooled and certainly not impressed with how the MHS A.D. chose to handle this whole thing. It is a shame that the MHS and CHS athletes will think that their behavior was appropriate and that this is part of the game of high school basketball. Where I come from -- it certainly IS NOT.

Hope to see MHS students at WAHS next week

I hope to see all the kids from MHS who come out and support their team so well at the JD semifinals next week at WAHS. They are loud, boisterous group who add A TON to the exciting atmosphere. But leave your parents at home. They don't know how to handle themselves.

The UNLV way

Yeah, nice of Barnes and Monticello to get a quick game with a soft AAA team out of Richmond so the eight won't miss the WA game.

Pretty classy stuff. Just play by your own rules, right Mr. AD?

Let's go Western Albemarle!

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