PIKEVILLE, Ky. — The Pike County Sheriff’s Department and Superintendent of Schools Reed Adkins have been in the process of investigating an altercation that took place during a middle school basketball game Thursday, Jan. 7 at Phelps High School.
Officials are in possession of a cell phone video that shows the altercation, and in a previous interview with the Post, Adkins said they were still looking into what happened at the Phelps versus Belfry Middle School 8th grade boys basketball game.
“We’re reviewing the video very carefully to make sure we do the right thing,” Adkins said. “It is still under investigation, but we’re hoping to wrap things up very soon.”
According to Pike County Schools Attorney Neal Smith, sanctions have now been handed down to the individuals involved in the altercation.
“There were some verbal exchanges between the coaches and the referees,” Smith said. “One thing lead to another. One of the fans came down and got into a heated conversation with the referee. Then somebody pushed somebody else… A fight broke out and several people got involved. We very carefully reviewed the video and it appeared that there were eight adults who were involved in the fight and one high school kid.”
According to Smith, seven of the eight individuals involved in the altercation were not employed by the school system.
“The board, of course, can only do so much to the adults who are not employees of ours,” Smith said. “Those seven adults who are not employees of ours have been banned from attending any of our athletic events for the remainder of this school year through June 30.”
The one adult who is a board employee was Belfry Middle School’s basketball coach, Bobby Varney II. Varney was suspended without pay as the coach of the Belfry Middle basketball team for the duration of this school year. Since then, Varney has resigned his coaching position.
His other positions with the school were not affected by the altercation.
Smith also said one person involved in the fight was a high school student, but any disciplinary action on that front would have to come from the school level.
“I think superintendent Adkins did all that he could do under these circumstances,” Smith said. “I thought he acted rather swiftly and decisively. He took the bull by the horns and did what needed to be done.”
Karissa Blackburn is a news reporter for the Pike County Post. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-784-7329.