Clark CYO players vote to forfeit season after girls kicked off team

  • Clark CYO players vote to forfeit season after girls kicked off team

Clark CYO players vote to forfeit season after girls kicked off team

For the past four years, two girls have played alongside the boys on a basketball team at St. John the Apostle School in Clark, New Jersey. Two weeks earlier, the director of the Catholic Youth Organization notified the St. John's team that the girls would have to be removed from the team for the final two games and that the team's previous record would be erased since those games were played with a coed roster.

The ruling from the archdiocese indicated that the team's season would be forfeited if the girls took the court, but the game was never played, Martel said.

Leslie Thomas, the athletic director for Aquinas Academy in Livingston, the team St. John's was scheduled to play, said she received word from Union County CYO League Director Rich Donovan at 8 p.m. on Friday that the Saturday game had been canceled.

Sometimes the spirit of girl power is expressed by nine fifth-grade boys saying they'd rather forfeit an entire season's worth of basketball games than kick out their female teammates.

Even after they knew they were destroying the season, the team's members clearly didn't care, leading some parents to tear up with pride.

The parents asked the kids.

The children were asked to vote with a show of hands, and all 11 went up in favor of staying "as a team".

The St. John's Chargers were sitting in third place in their division going into Friday night's game and would still have been allowed to compete in the league playoffs, but only if the girls did not play, the parent said.

"It doesn't matter", one boy replied and others echoed, before the team began to chant, "Unity!" The opposing team packed their bags and left. "It's not fair that we get to move on but they can't", one of the boys said afterward.

"The positive thing we saw was that everyone came together and supported each other, because that's what Catholic school and being a Christian is all about", a St. John's parent, wearing a T-shirt with the phrase "#unitygames", told the team afterward. A spokesman for the archdiocese of Newark also would not comment.

While the team may have been in violation of regulations, it's far more egregious that the league couldn't find a compromise to allow the girls to at least finish out the season.