tampabay.com

Northeast assistant, player involved in scuffle

The school will look into the incident between senior Eric Terrell and Jay Austin.

By JOE SMITH
Published October 29, 2006


Northeast High administrators plan to investigate an altercation between a football player and assistant coach Friday night in the school's locker room.

Northeast senior Eric Terrell filed a report with the St. Petersburg Police Department late Friday night, saying he was "grabbed and picked up for no reason" by assistant coach Jay Austin, son of head coach Jerry Austin.

Jay Austin, reached by phone Saturday night, called the allegations "blatantly untrue." Austin said he was merely defending himself from the 18-year-old, whom he said elbowed him in the throat and ribs.

No charges have been filed. The report, obtained by the Times, revealed Terrell "had no visible injuries and chose not to complete a sworn statement." The matter will be forwarded to the school resource officer for further investigation.

Northeast lost a road game to Osceola 33-27 in double overtime on Friday night. The team then took the bus back to Northeast, where coaches were holding a team meeting when the altercation occurred.

Jay Austin said he had not heard from police, and he plans to be on the sideline Monday night when the Vikings return to Osceola for a three-team shootout, which will decide the Class 4A, District 9 championship and playoff spots. Terrell, who played cornerback and wide receiver for Northeast, will not. Terrell said he is no longer on the team.

Northeast principal Patricia Wright, who heard about the incident from a Times reporter Saturday night, said "there will certainly be an investigation."

Said Wright: "If it happened, we'll follow through with it."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com or at 727 893-8129.