Mystery builds around fate of East End schools’ athletics future

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by Malik Vincent

It is undecided on what the final plans will be whenever the 2011-12 school year kicks off next September and beyond. The Pittsburgh Board of Education’s Athletic division is trying decide what those are, once established.

truckin
TRUCKIN’—Westinghouse’s Charles “Truck” Williams scored their only touchdown in a 30-8 loss to Langley Oct 8. at Cupples Stadium. (Photo by William McBride.)

A committee has been established and they are discussing the possibility that the City League (PIAA District 8) may join with the WPIAL (PIAA District 7), as early as the 2012-13 school year. However, a more prevalent topic is what is going to happen with certain schools in the East End, come next school year.

It is official that this is the final year for both Peabody and Schenley as athletic programs. The board has decided to close those schools after this year. In the meantime, there are many parties that are unsure about how things will play out. To say the least, there are many important things at stake.

“I’m not sure if I will even have a job next year,” Schenley’s head football coach Jason Bell said. “As far as I know, the only thing that is set in stone at this point is the football team will be headquartered out of University Prep. Aside from that, I’m really not sure what is going to happen.”

One thing that is being proposed, unofficially, is that University Prep at Milliones 6-12, Sci-Tech 6-12, and Obama 6-12 will join as one football team in 2011-12.

“I heard of the possibility that they may join the school colors together and design their uniforms after the University of Washington Huskies because it has a little of each of the three school colors in there,” Bell said.

As for the other sports, it is proposed that all three schools will play as, simply, Obama.

There are also high emotions about the fact that the teams will go.

“I can’t even begin to put into words how disappointed, how upset, I mean I can’t even put it into words to cover it,” said Peabody’s coach Leonard Carter after the final game between Peabody and Schenley as separate entities on Saturday. “I’ve been a part of Peabody for some time, I played for Peabody in the ’70s, and I’ve been a coach for them for over 20 years. (Peabody and Schenley) are two very proud programs and the fact that that they’ll be gone after this year is very sad.”

Due to the high uncertainty on what the final decisions will be, Mike Gavlik, the board’s director of athletics, declined to make an official statement.

Part of the proposal is to combine athletic programs at Perry and Oliver, Langley and Brashear and Prep, Obama and Westinghouse, while Allderdice and Carrick would remain the same, dropping the current nine schools down to just five. None of this has been presented to the board for a final decision.

(Malik Vincent can be reached at malikvincent@gmail.com.)

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