Written by Katie Morford Tuesday, 09 October 2012 14:10
In light of the recent tragic death of Tabor College football player Brandon Brown, and the ongoing investigation of those events, the McPherson College homecoming football game with Tabor Oct. 20 has been canceled.
“The focus of both the McPherson College and Tabor College communities must be on our students right now,” Tabor College President Jules Glanzer and McPherson College President Michael Schneider said a joint statement.
“We are committed to support each other, to pray for each other and to unite our students in peace.
“We are planning a series of events in the coming year between Tabor and McPherson to continue developing the harmony between our communities,” they added. “We will continue to find opportunities for our campus families to heal together following this tragedy."
Beth Riffel, Tabor’s director of communications, said the decision officially came Wednesday from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, but both presidents were involved in the decision.
“Both schools are very interested in doing what is best for our students and our teams,” Riffel said. Activities for that Saturday are being planned, but details won’t be announced until later.
Rusty Allen, Tabor athletic director, said the cancellation of the game will affect neither team’s record. It will not be considered a forfeit by McPherson College, as some have suggested.
Though the circumstances of the cancellation are difficult, Tabor football coach Mike Gardner said he “couldn’t be prouder” of his players’ response to the tragedy and related adversity.
“Like winners—like they’re supposed to,” Gardner said, describing their reaction. “They’re not blaming anybody. I have not heard them say one negative thing about anybody’s decision.”
Gardner said the players respected the administrators of both schools that made the decision, and have moved on.
“They handled it much better than I anticipated them handling it, and probably a little better than some adults out there who follow teams would handle it,” Gardner said.
He said character is not revealed in good times, but when life is going horribly.
“This has been an interesting year, and something I will cherish and take with me forever because of the things that have been learned and the good that has come from tragedy,” he said.
“The good that comes from tragedy is something I think these guys can learn and take with them forever.”
Brown was found beaten in a McPherson street Sept. 16 by local police officers, then died in a Wichita hospital Sept. 22. Two former McPherson College students have since been arrested in connection with the incident. They were scheduled to make their first appearance in court Monday.