It's official: No football for Imani Christian
Monessen and California officially have an open week on their football schedules after Imani Christian, as expected, dropped football for the coming season.
WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley had given Imani officials until Monday to officially decide if the school was going to field a football team.
Imani, which entered the WPIAL as a member school a year ago, never held a practice because of a lack of players.
“I received a fax from Imani (Monday) saying that the school is ceasing its football program because of a lack of student participation,” O'Malley said. “They are claiming they are going to still have basketball, but that is three months away. We will see.”
O'Malley noted that a year ago, when Imani Christian wanted to get into the WPIAL, the district wanted to put Imani on a two-year probation period to see if it could sustain its athletic programs.
“However, the state overruled and made us admit them last year,” O'Malley said. “Had we put them on that two-year plan, other schools in the conference would not be in this situation.”
O'Malley noted that it will be almost impossible for other schools in the Black Hills Conference to get a game now that Imani is off the schedule.
However, he noted there is one possibility out there.
Geibel, which is a member of the Tri-County South Conference, did not field a team the first two games last season because of low numbers and reportedly has only 16 players this season.
The Gators did not participate in a scheduled scrimmage Saturday because the team only had nine players due to injuries and vacations.
“I have two calls into Geibel (on Monday) about their situation and have not heard back,” O'Malley said. “From my understanding, even though they did not participate in their scrimmage, they fully intend to play this season.
“However, should that change, there would be an option that teams in (the Black Hills) who were scheduled to play Imani could play Geibel's opponent(in the Tri-County South) that given week if they don't play. Other than that, I don't know what the option is.”
Geibel's team did hold a practice Monday at 4:30 p.m. at the school field.
California will have an open date Oct. 4 and will lose a home game while Monessen's bye will come the following week.
The Greyhounds were supposed to play at Imani on a Saturday afternoon and the district already said it will use that week as a bye.
However, California coach Bo Teets is not happy with his team's unplanned bye because it will cost the Trojans one of their four scheduled home games.
If Geibel were to fold its team, California and Carmichaels would have open dates Oct. 4 and Monessen and Bentworth would be open Oct. 11.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.