Players, coaches upset by Sto-Rox board's decision to cut baseball, softball
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Since the Sto-Rox school board voted to discontinue the high school baseball and softball programs, it seems as if everyone has something to say to Sto-Rox school board President Elizabeth Smith.
Members of the media. People on the street. Callers. Even social media users who don't mention her by name but reference what she and her board did.
Very little of the interaction has been positive.
In Smith's opinion, people are upset about the wrong thing.
“I'm just beside myself — I was appalled that I had to do an interview last week about this,” Smith said. “Nobody has contacted me and asked me about the effects cuts will have on the district at large. It's appalling to me that people lost their jobs and elementary students will be directly impacted by the loss of teachers, of a librarian, of a secretary and maintenance ... and all I get interviewed about is why we eliminated the softball and baseball programs.”
Eliminating the teams was one of many across-the-board cuts made to the district's budget during a meeting last week. The athletics programs were eliminated by an 8-1 vote.
Smith said baseball and softball were eliminated to stay in compliance with Title IX requirements of male and female sports.
The Vikings' softball team filled the district trophy case, winning 10 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League championships and a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association title during the 35 seasons Bill Palermo was coach. He resigned after the spring season.
“It's disappointing for the community, and with the tradition we established in softball, it's hard to see that happen,” said Bill Minear, who resigned as Sto-Rox's athletic director last month.
“It's hard to watch something you truly love come to an end.”
Supporters of the Sto-Rox softball program estimate that 85 percent of Vikings players go on to college. They note that many of the softball players are the school's best students — this season alone, according to Palermo, three of the top five in the Class of 2013 were on the team.
They point to the fact that cutting baseball and softball, saving the district $23,000 to 25,000, is a fraction of the district's $24 million operating budget.
“What's $23,000 going to do?” Palermo said.
WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said Sto-Rox has not filed officially expressing its intention to not fulfill its schedule.
“Until they formally issue that letter, we'll take a wait-and-see attitude,” O'Malley said. “I think that's probably the best thing to do. Come October or November, maybe they'll find some creative way to fund these sports. We've seen it before.”
Regardless, the WPIAL will keep its sectional alignment and schedule. Students from the school will not be permitted to play softball or baseball for a school they do not attend.
O'Malley indicated it is highly unlikely a cooperative agreement with another school could be reached in time for the upcoming season. And even if it could, because this is the middle of a two-year cycle, it would have to be a from a Class A school tiny enough that the schools' combined enrollments would keep the team in Class A.
That seems extremely unlikely.
Center fielder Haylee Weisser just graduated as valedictorian and will major in English at Duquesne University — an example, Palermo said, of what athletics can do for academics.
Weisser said she was “furious” when she heard about softball being cut.
“It's all politics is all it is,” Weisser said. “The volleyball team's had no winning records in 20 years, and they take the winningest program instead?
“At least I can always say with pride and love that I was on the last softball team at Sto-Rox and on the last team coached by Bill Palermo. So it's kind of mixed emotions.”
Chris Adamski is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Linebackers on the spot against Saints offense
- Penguins notebook: Johnston calls Quinn ‘phenomenal’ coach, person
- MLB notebook: Red Sox spending way out of the cellar
- Pirates star McCutchen marries in private ceremony
- Goal of political process is not to create a government that works
- Liberty Bridge inspections to close lanes
- Can’t go it alone
- Blatant misuse of union dues
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Pitt football notebook: Athletic department seeking fans’ input
- Greensburg Tuesday takes