One of the traditional public school sports powerhouses in Chicago has canceled the remainder of its 2017 season, citing declining participation, injuries and academic eligibility concerns.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Whitney Young (Chicago) principal Dr. Joyce Kenner confirmed Tuesday that the school would forfeit the remainder of its football slate for the 2017 season. The decision comes two weeks after Young forfeited it’s third game of the season against crosstown rival Taft due to injuries suffered in the season’s first two games. It then lost it’s most recent game against another Chicago rival, Simeon Career Academy, by a score of 72-0.
Young’s cancelation marks the nadir of a stunning decline for a program that ran off a perfect 9-0 regular season en route to a playoff berth just two years earlier.
“Our numbers have been low since last spring,” Whitney Young football coach Tim Franken told the Sun-Times. “Most of the players are underclassman are sophomore and freshman … I could just see it was very difficult for our young team to compete against teams coming up, and there was a concern for their safety.”
In a sense, Whitney Young’s decision was a fait accompli; Chicago Public Schools require 22 active players to compete in a game, but the Dolphins currently have just 19 healthy players on their roster.
There was one glimmer of hope for Whitney Young football fans from an otherwise disappointing announcement: Kenner insists that the program will return for the 2018 season.
“There’s not a chance — we’re definitely going to bring football next school year,” Kenner said.