Blip on the screen or trend?

Ron Haramia
Staff Writer

The Culver Academy football team lost last week, but the opposition did not score a point. How’s that?

The scheduled opponent – put in stone about a year ago – was the Fairfield Falcons. By Tuesday, Fairfield had notified the Academy that they felt it would be best for their players to not play against the Eagles. Too many injured players and too many young and inexperienced players that would have to fill in for those spots were the main reasons behind this difficult decision.

Safety of the players; I get it. Now I’m not suggesting that there were ulterior motives behind the cancellation, but here are a couple of numbers to throw into the conversation. Fairfield is a 3A school, the middle class if you will, not technically a small school. It has 40 players listed on its football roster, but only one senior and 14 freshmen. The Falcons are 0-3 and have not scored this season. That’s right, an accumulated score of 162-0. The Academy is a 4A school and has been ranked in the top 20 all season.

The coach was quoted as saying, “We have to do what’s in the best interest of our kids and do the right thing. We would not have been in a healthy situation to compete on the varsity level.”

All true, but how many other football teams could say that any given week? Who’s left on Pioneer’s schedule? Do you think Triton and Culver are looking forward to facing the top-ranked, defending state champ Panthers, who are on a 19-game conference winning streak and have outscored their opponents 264-19 on Sept. 21 and Oct. 5, respectively?

What about other sports? Is it a “healthy situation to compete on the varsity level” when South Bend Clay’s girls basketball team (3-42 the last two years) plays against state-power Penn?

In college football, the mid-major schools search out the larger universities for a game because it includes a huge payday (Hello ND? This is Ball State calling). Conversely, canceling a college football game has serious financial ramifications. Not so with a high school game. Sure, some money is lost, but the gate receipts and concessions are modest amounts.

Did Fairfield open the door for other schools to do the same? Should they be penalized? Or was it the right call?