Geibel situation left ADs scrambling for games
The one thing Billy Simms and Scot Moore did not think they would be doing in the final weeks of the high school football season was trying to schedule games.
That’s where both of these athletic directors found themselves doing recently when Geibel Catholic could not field enough players and were forced to forfeit two games in the Class A Tri-County South Conference, last week against West Greene and Friday’s game against Jefferson-Morgan.
Simms found a game for West Greene but Moore was not so fortunate, cancelling Saturday’s game at Geibel and effectively ending Jefferson-Morgan’s season. The Rockets did not schedule a replacement game.
“It’s difficult when you get the message on Wednesday,” said Simms. “It does give you a bitter feeling.”
Simms was fortunate. He found a game against North Star, a PIAA District 5 school near Somerset. Moore tried to find one through his contacts in Districts 5 and 6, Maryland and the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference without success.
“I called a lot of places,” Moore said. “Some teams could not play because they had their allotment of games. It’s very frustrating.”
Tim O’Malley, executive director of the WPIAL, said the organization has limited options when it comes to teams forfeiting games.
“We put Geibel on notice,” he said. “At some point and time, a decision needs to be made (on the future). It’s up to the schools.”
Geibel wasn’t the only football team in the PIAA to forfeit games. Rockwood, a District 5 team, and Imani Christian of the Class A Black Hills Conference dropped football in August, leaving opponents scrambling to find games.
O’Malley said Imani Christian would be taken off the WPIAL schedule for two seasons. Other than that, O’Malley said the WPIAL doesn’t have many options. He said it’s up to the schools to make a well thoughtout decision.
“They can’t continue doing what they are doing to their member schools,” said O’Malley. “The first goal is that they have to make a decision about whether they are in or out. The board then has to make a decision whether to put them on the schedule.”
Forfeiting games or dropping a program so close to the start of the season has dire consequences for schools. West Greene had its homecoming game scheduled against Geibel.
“Can you have a homecoming dance if there is no game?” Simms said. “Can you have a king and a queen? We would have had to cancel the DJ and the decorators. It would have been a train wreck.”
Had Simms not found a game to replace Geibel, West Greene would have suffered a financial hit in ticket sales lost. The band boosters run the concession stand and the 50-50 is run by the football boosters. There are various other fundraisers at home games through the season.
Moore says he understands the challenges Geibel has fielding a team, and says any Class A team could have a problem with the number of players on the roster.
“It’s frustrating on our part when you think you have a game but don’t,” Moore said. “It’s frustrating to everyone, the kids, the fans, everyone.”