Brawl forces DWC forfeit

NASHUA – The Daniel Webster College men’s basketball program’s finale was ruined by mayhem on Saturday at the school’s Mario Vagge Gym.

A brawl broke out between the Eagle and Southern Vermont players with 14:34 remaining, and two Eagle players, according to school officials, were escorted out of the Vagge Gym by Nashua police.

DWC ended up having to forfeit the game, 2-0.

“Our concern was for the welfare of the students involved,” DWC associate athletic director Ken Belbin said Saturday evening. “We’re cooperating with authorities.”

This comes on the heels of the school discovering an ineligibility on the team that forced it to vacate five wins and lose out on playing in what would have been its final New England Collegiate Conference tournament next week.

DWC received word Friday the discovery of an ineligible player who appeared as a reserve in eight games, five of them conference games/wins.

School officials said the error was purely administrative in nature.

The NECC and NCAA will not have the Eagles forfeit those five wins into losses, according to school officials. But heading into Saturday’s game, DWC went from an 8-7 league mark to 3-7, vastly reducing the team’s chances of making next week’s conference tournament.

The Eagles dropped from fourth place in the NECC to seventh. The top six teams make the conference tournament.

A statement released by the school on Friday said the eligibility error was discovered earlier this month.

“After a thorough review, the College determined that the student-athlete should have been declared ineligible for competition,” the statement said, adding “Once the error was discovered, the College took immediate steps to self-report to the conference office and the NCAA.

“We deeply regret the error and the College bears ultimate responsibility.”

The news has added to the Eagles’ frustration that the program is ending.

“Obviously it’s disappointing,” associate athletic director Ken Belbin said. “Basketball is the oldest sport the institution has had, it has a long history. It was an obvious mistake at the administrative level.”

This is the third time in the last six years the school has discovered basketball eligibility errors. It was forced to forfeit games in men’s hoop in 2013-14, and in women’s basketball in 2010-11. Ironically, despite the forfeitures, that Eagle women’s team won the NECC title and played in the NCAA Division III tournament.