Whitney Young abruptly cancels football season

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The principal of Whitney Young High School has canceled the school's football season, citing a shortage of players.

Player injuries and poor grades, including multiple Fs, dropped the team's roster to 19 players -- three short of the required 22. They only had enough players to field a varsity team.

As one of Chicago's top high schools, the Whitney Young Dolphins were undefeated just a few years ago, but this year, the team has lost every game.

"Whitney is used to and strives to be the best at everything we do, the football program is not symbolic of what we want it to be, it's time for us to look at rebuilding the program," said principal Joyce Kenner.

Kenner said the goal is to rebuild the team and come back next year.

The football season was punted right before this week's homecoming game.

"I feel like it's the wrong decision, she could have let us play our homecoming game," said team captain Le'Mark Russell.

"Homecoming is like a nationwide tradition, it's for the football team, as a player you look forward to that your senior year," said Edras Montero, a senior on the team.

Despite a shortened season, homecoming festivities will go on as planned. Instead of football, homecoming will center around a soccer game with the senior football players standing on the field.

While seniors are disappointed, so are the younger players, who feel like all their hard work has been wasted.

"I didn't have a summer break, my summer break was at the field every day, two to three hours a day. For that to be taken away is not good," said Daniel Williams, a sophomore on the team.

Players said the kids on the team who were academically ineligible have since brought up their grades.

Regardless, Tim Franken, the school's long-time football coach, said the principal made the right decision. He said there is waning interest in playing on the team.

"When you're playing teams like Simeon, Currie and Lane, playing 14 year olds against 17-year-old young men, not a smart thing to do," Franken said.
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