CPS cuts sophomore spring sports

March 4, 2010 4:35:00 AM PST
Chicago Public Schools is cutting sophomore sports. The school district says its budget crisis leaves it with no choice but to drop the programs just as sophomore basketball teams began practicing.

CPS sent a memo to school athletic directors informing them that only varsity and freshman teams will be allowed to practice Wednesday, the first day of practice for spring sports. A number of school officials say budgetary conditions is the reason sophomore sports are being cut.

Whitney Young Magnet school sophomore basketball players learned about the cuts Wednesday.

"I was really upset because I look forward to the season a lot," said Guillermo Perez, Whitney Young student.

"It gives them less time to practice on what they need to practice on and to do what they do to get ready for varsity baseball team," said Eugene Tubb, Whitney Young student

"I am devastated because what are we supposed to do?" said Marisa Truitt, Whitney Young student.

Whitney Young principal Joyce Kenner received the memo which says the varsity and freshman levels are the only levels of girls and boys coaches approved to begin practice at this time. She believes extracurricular activities plus academics equals success.

"It is absolutely devastating to the school, the public, the students, everyone to have the sophomore level cut," said Kenner.

Kenner believes there are other options the school board should be looking at.

"Let's cut the freshman level programs and then that would give those freshmen who could make a sophomore team an opportunity to play and then those sophomores perhaps who could make the varsity, give them an opportunity to play," said Kenner.

CPS released a statement which said,"mid-year budget cuts will result in the elimination of salaries for sophomore level high school spring coaching positions. This will leave freshman and varsity level sports programming."

Josh Locks is an English teacher at Whitney Young and the sophomore baseball coach. The school has won a number of state championships and is recognized for being competitive.

"It was shocking. We did not expect it to come out after we had already begun tryouts and practices," said Locks. "This is going to impact our program. It is going to impact CPS sports just horribly. It is going to put hundreds if not thousands of kids out of sports and on the street. Not only do we feel like we have been duped but the kids feel as though the wool has been pulled over their eyes."

Kenner is the president of the principal's executive athletic board. On Monday it will be meeting with CPS officials to make other recommendations. They will suggest cutting freshman sports and looking for other resources out there that can help the sports program.

Mayor Daley made announcement Wednesday afternoon saying that Chicago cannot afford to lose sophomore sports.