RCTC to add police presence for Saturday football game (video)
When Rochester Community and Technical College's top-ranked football team hosts Dakota College Saturday in the MCAC state semifinals, they'll do so with a police presence at the stadium.
That policy change was made earlier this fall by new RCTC Athletic Director Patric Simon, but it's especially important for Saturday's clash. The last time these teams squared off, a postgame brawl that sent one to the hospital prompted a police investigation and resulted in five players being kicked off the teams, including three from RCTC.
Simon's new policy applies to most football games and other large events at RCTC, according to RCTC Communications Director Nate Stoltman, who describes the new police presence as part of "very significant changes to our safety and security protocols."
It's unclear how much the new policies will cost RCTC, which is already facing cuts due to a budget shortfall. Simon did not respond to requests for comment.
"We take the safety and security of our athletes and fans very seriously — that's why we continuously review our needs and will make resource adjustments accordingly," Stoltman said via email.
The genesis for such a move may be directly linked to the last time RCTC played Dakota College.
On Nov. 1, 2014, RCTC defeated Dakota College 24-21 in what Capt. John Sherwin of the Rochester Police Department described as a "very physical game" that included one ejection. When the final horn sounded, the teams brawled as they were leaving the field — with players swinging helmets and throwing water bottles at each other; some fans also got involved, according to the police report.
The police department investigated, but did not pursue any criminal charges, Sherwin said.
However, internal investigations conducted by both athletic departments — in accordance with National Junior College Athletic Association guidelines — resulted in RCTC dismissing three players and Dakota College dismissing two for player conduct violations, according to spokesmen from both schools; both declined to name the individuals who were kicked off the team.
Additionally, RCTC required all of its remaining players to complete "code of conduct" training, Stoltman said.
The Post-Bulletin recently obtained a 37-minute video of RCTC's security camera from the Rochester City Attorney's Office that shows a the portion of the fight that occurred right outside the front gate of the stadium; it was initially unavailable during the active investigation. The video does not include audio.
A three-minute sequence early in the surveillance footage shows a number of players walking away from the field still in full uniform before sprinting back towards it, presumably when the fight started. Shortly thereafter, dozens of players from both teams spill onto the video while engaged in a melee that appears to include players kicking, punching and shoving each other, while multiple players are atop one foe who had been knocked to the ground.
The first law enforcement officer is shown arriving 23 minutes into the video, about 15 minutes after the brawl had been broken up. A second squad car arrived 27 minutes into the video.
The police report said that one Dakota College player was hospitalized with "facial injuries." Dakota College Athletic Director Brandon Colvin said the 19-year-old was treated and released, but he was not aware of specific nature of the injuries.
Law enforcement also found property damage on doors and in the locker room after the brawl.
Simon and RCTC Head Coach Bill Quistorff did not respond to requests for comment, but Stoltman issued the following statement for the school on Wednesday:
"We are proud of our No. 1 ranked Yellowjackets and all the work Coach Quistorff and his staff have done in fostering an environment where our players are not only good athletes, but also good students and good role models for all future Yellowjackets."