CHAPEL HILL - The stands sat empty at Monday's high school boys soccer game between Chapel Hill and Athens.
The decision to not allow fans at the game in Chapel Hill came after a fight between players and fans from both teams during their February 17 matchup in Athens.
Chapel Hill ISD superintendent Dr. Donni Cook said it was a joint decision made between administrators from Athens and Chapel Hill.
"There was an issue on the field," Cook said. "That issue carried over to the bench and from the bench it carried over to some of the fans."
That game ended early and left school leaders in agreement to keep Monday's game strictly between the players, coaches and referees.
"It’s so important for our kids to feel like they’re going to have an ability to play fairly and get through the game," Cook said.
Cook said her office only received one call regarding the decision to keep fans outside the stadium. It came from an Athens parent, she said.
"We hate it for the parents who would like to come see the games, but we just feel it’s one of the things we need to do at this point," Cook said.
"I just appreciate them for their understanding," she added. "I know it’s difficult understanding what we’re trying to do and we could really use their support at this time."
Cook, who commended both teams' coaches for their handling of the situation, said this is the first time fans have been banned from a Chapel Hill sporting event during her time as superintendent.
"There are more games coming and both teams need to play as hard as they can so [fans] can be in the playoffs and have the opportunity to go see as many games as they can before the season ends," she said.
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