I spoke to Section 1 executive director Jennifer Simmons this afternoon. She said there is no hard-and-fast deadline for Yonkers to determine whether or not it will field football teams this season, but the district has been told it will have to come to a decision before the end of July.
That’s when the Section 1 football committee will meet to re-work the schedules, if necessary.
“There is a point coming up soon at the end of July where we’re going to have to make a decision as to whether or not we’re going to have to redo everything,” Simmons said. “We’re trying to be as supportive and helpful as we can be in this tough time, but there are other schools that we have to service as well.”
As most of you know, Section 1 is home to 87 high schools, the majority of which play varsity football. Yonkers currently has six of them — Gorton, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Saunders, Yonkers and Palisade Prep — and they are spread throughout three classes. No football in Yonkers would disrupt the power rankings and schedules from Class AA to Class C.
In the case that Yonkers has fall sports but does not commit to football by the end of the month, one plan — albeit not one she or the football committee want to enact — would be forming a league that consists only of teams from the city.
“It’s absolutely not what we want to do, but what we have to do is come up with a schedule without them in it because the possibility is there that they won’t have athletics,” Simmons said. She also noted the possibility of using Yonkers schools that do field teams to fill open dates in the new schedule.
The district has said it won’t field teams since its budget was defeated. But, as I reported earlier this week, administrators have communicated the opposite to Section 1. That has prevented the section from re-working the football schedule to this point.
“We can only go by what they’re telling us,” Simmons said.
While some of the football programs in the city have participated in summer workouts, two are currently without coaches. Mike Meade left Roosevelt to become the head coach at Woodlands and Anthony Fiorelli left Saunders to coach football at sprint football at Army.
Additionally, rumors have swirled that Roosevelt wouldn’t have enough players after the 2009 Class A champ graduated the majority of the 23 players on last year’s playoff team. Still, the district has assured Simmons that it has coaches in place for those teams and an adequate number of players if or when sports return.
Right now, however, the clock is ticking.
“This was a huge undertaking,” she said of the new football structure. “We can’t leave it until the last minute. it’s not fair to those people who worked on it and it’s not fair to those other schools.”
Yonkers district athletic director Jim Rose did not return a call seeking comment.