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Imani Christian fails to field team for 2013

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

After completing one season as an official member of the WPIAL, Imani Christian failed to field a team for 2013.

The Saints, who went 6-3 last season and finished third in the Class A Black Hills Conference, struggled to find enough players to fill out a roster.

“We have tried very hard, but we don't have any players,” Imani athletic director Enos Scott said.

“I informed the WPIAL and (executive director) Tim O'Malley that it looks like we won't have a team and we were given until (Aug. 19) to make a final decision.

“We have no starters back from last year. We only had three kids show up to lift weights in the summer and we have not held any practices.”

O'Malley said he warned Imani Christian, a small private school in the East Hills, that it could be at risk of losing its league affiliation in football for two years if it couldn't field a team and can't honor its schedule this season.

O'Malley told Scott, whose team lost players to Renaissance Christian Academy when they followed former Imani coach Harvey Smith there, that the school has a “responsibility to try to do the best you can with the kids enrolled in your school to convince them to play.”

After being denied membership in the WPIAL, Imani Christian had the decision overturned in an appeal to the PIAA. The Saints were on a two-year probation period and thus ineligible for the playoffs last season.

Under WPIAL rules, Imani Christian would not receive a WPIAL football schedule next season.

The school also would have to make its own schedule and demonstrate an ability to honor the games.

“The plan going forward is to build the team and face what we have to face,” Scott said.

All of Imani's 2013 opponents had to make arrangements to fill that spot in their schedules before the season begins.

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