Prairie View Reverses Suspension


The Southwestern Athletic Conference on Tuesday reversed a decision made the day before to suspend the entire Prairie View A&M athletic department, withdrawing the sanctions pending a review.

The SWAC said Commissioner Rudy Washington had "agreed to place the suspension in abeyance until further review."

The decision clears the way for the school to go ahead with this weekend's homecoming festivities and the first home football game since Prairie View snapped an NCAA-record 80-game losing streak.

"It's great news for our students and alumni here at Prairie View," said Larry Raab, the school's vice president of operations.

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  • Prairie View was suspended for not following the SWAC's earlier two-game suspension of its marching band after a halftime brawl with the Southern University band. The band sat out one game, but participated in the Prairie View-Grambling game last Saturday at Dallas.

    "Placing the matter in abeyance means that although the commissioner's ruling was unanimously approved ... the immediate imposition of sanctions against the university has been delayed until the review process has been completed," the conference said.

    Washington didn't say when the review process would be finished.

    Raab said the temporary lifting of sanctions will allow the band to participate in all activities -- including the homecoming game against Alcorn State.

    As part of the reprieve, Prairie View agreed to withdraw its refusal to play Southern in any athletic events. That refusal played a key role in Washington's initial decision.

    Saturday's game will be the first home appearance for the Panthers (1-4, 0-3) since they ended their losing streak on Sept. 26.

    The marching bands of Southern and Prairie Vie engaged in a halftime melee Sept. 19 at Beaumont. Several Prairie View band members were injured and both schools incurred damage to uniforms and instruments. Each school blamed the other for starting the fracas.

    The SWAC immediately suspended both schools' bands for two football games. Prairie View's band sat out the Sept. 26 game at Langston -- the school's first football victory since 1989 -- but played last Saturday.

    Raab cited contractual obligations that could have cost the school $80,000 if the band hadn't shown up.

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