Central Christian cancels football season

Published 11:28 pm Thursday, July 24, 2008

Central Christian Academy will not field a football team for the 2008 football season.

In a letter sent to the Alabama Independent School Association on July 9, Central Christian athletic director, Darrell Walker, canceled the school’s 2008 football season.

“He just said it was lack of participation,” said AISA athletic director Ronnie Beck. “Not enough boys to play.”

Email newsletter signup

The cancellation was not entirely surprising. The Warriors’ 2007 season was cut short three games in. The cancellation did not suppress expectations that the Warriors would participate in the 2008 season.

“We were expecting them to play, and I think Coach Walker was expecting them to play,” said Beck. “It was just a situation where it did not work out.”

Walker declined to comment on the football team’s status prior to a Central Christian board meeting Thursday evening, but said answers would be available in the near future following the board meeting. Walker did not return phone calls Thursday evening.

Rev. Carl Rawls, Central Christian board president, denied that the football team was discussed in the board meeting. He declined further comment on all issues pertaining to the football team and its status for 2008, citing board confidentiality.

Elton Reece, director of Selma Parks and Recreation, was told of Central Christian’s cancellation on July 14.

“It’s a bad thing all the way around if they can’t field a team since they already made a schedule,” said Reece. “Usually, the AISA fines them for dropping out. That costs everybody a game that they were scheduled with.”

Central Christian’s games have been deleted from the online 2008 AISA football schedule.

The nine teams that were slated to face Central Christian — Higgins, Restoration, Jackson, Warrior, South Choctaw, Sparta, Open Door, Sumter and Patrician — are working on finding another game to fill the gap, Beck said.

Central Christian is not the first school to cancel a season. It is a decision that other small, rural schools — especially Class A schools — have had to make in the past.

“In some of our rural areas, with the economy the way it is now, you’re finding that we do have some where the numbers are low,” said Beck. “They’re just trying to do the best they can and survive the best they can.”

The average number of males in grades 8-11 determines AISA football classification. All schools with fewer than 42.6 boys — the amount needed for full first and second strings on each side of the ball — are classified as class-A schools.

However, the cancellation of a season rarely makes a permanent statement of a football program’s status.

“Over the years we have had some schools that have had to do that,” said Beck. “But it’s not an ongoing thing.”