No More Football

Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 12:30pm

Michigan high school can't find enough interested students to field a team.

Rooting for or playing on your high school football team is often a right of passage for teens.

That won't be an option for students in Albion, Michigan this year.

The district says it has pulled the plug on the team because the interest isn't there.

"We had, I think, at the highest point 22 on the first day and it trailed off from there," Athletic Director Brad Shedd explained. "From injuries to this isn't what I thought it would be."

While some districts have cut programs and activities for financial reasons, Shedd says Albion has the money it just doesn't have the team.

"It's unique and surprising, but it just wasn't an interest, hard to explain," Principal Derrick Crum added.

Albion needed at least 25 student to hit the field, but by the second week of summer practice the school had only secured ten.

Crum points out that Albion is small, with just over 220 students.

"Every child does not play every sport," Superintendent Jerri-Lynn Williams-Harper said. "So you can't expect the same group of boys to play football and then to cross country and then play basketball."

Williams-Harper says activities go in cycles at Albion, what's popular one year may not be the next.

The district waited as long as it could to cancel the program, hoping more students would join.

They didn't.

Now, the school is focused on rebuilding the team and the few seniors who wanted to play.

"Trying to get them opportunities to keep in the game and for the one or two that were interested in potentially playing at the college level to keep their name in the mix," Shedd said.

"We'll keep the weight room open, we'll keep the coach in place, we'll collaborate with Albion College and we'll do everything that we can do to create interest," Crum said.

Albion is hopeful it will have a team next year, but Crum says it is academics, not football that make the school.

"We are about putting out students first, before athletics," Williams-Harper echoed.

Albion has talked with the Michigan High School Athletic Association to make sure the playoff chances of schools it would have played will not be affected.

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