Coed youth team votes to forfeit season over ditching girls

In this Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, photo, Kayla Martel, center right, and her fifth-grade teammates eat pizza after forfeiting the rest of their basketball season in the teachers lounge at St. John the Apostle School in Clark, N.J. The team decided they would rather give up the rest of their season than play without their two female teammates. Catholic Youth Organization league officials recently notified St. John’s that their 5th grade team should never have been coed and their girls wouldn’t be permitted to finish the season. (Jessica Remo/NJ Advance Media via AP)

CLARK, N.J. (AP) — A youth basketball team has decided it would rather give up the rest of their season than play without its two female teammates.

The Catholic Youth Organization league recently notified officials at St. John’s in Clark, New Jersey, that their fifth-grade team should never have been coed and their girls wouldn’t be permitted to finish the season.

St. John’s prior record was forfeited because the girls were technically playing “illegally” on a boys team, parents said. The team’s lineup has been coed for the past four years because there weren’t enough interested girls among the same age group to form their own team.

An Archdiocese of Newark spokesman said Catholic Youth Organization league rules clearly state that teams should be comprised of boys or girls only. St. John’s Athletic Director Jack Cajuste admitted he made a mistake in allowing the team to exist the way it did.

However, NJ.com found the league rules do not mention whether the teams in St. John’s division — the JV black league — can or cannot be coed. That qualifier is, however, present in descriptions of other divisions.

The St. John’s squad unanimously decided not to take to the court without their full team in a vote Friday taken before a game scheduled against Scotch Plains’ St. Bartholomew the Apostle.

“One parent told me it’s my decision (whether the girls play), but I said no way, I’m not making this decision for 11 10-year-olds,” St. John’s Coach Rob Martel said.

Tasked with making the call themselves, chants of “Unity!” broke out as the team instead opted to end the season.

“Pride. Just pure pride,” parent Denise Laskody said when asked what she thought of the vote. “These kids are doing the right thing. We don’t have to tell them what to do. They just know. It’s amazing.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s