No football for former Westport Highschool Tigers now part of Southwest Early College Campus
9:07 PM, Aug 9, 2010
5:18 PM, Aug 18, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Members of a district champion football team will not be allowed
to play for their new high school in Kansas City this fall.
The Westport High School Tigers won Interscholastic League and
district football championships last season.
(Listen to former all-Interscholastic league athlete and
senior Derron Whitley's thoughts on the importance of the football
program in the video clip.)The coach and players wanted to
defend their crowns. However, district officials closed Westport as
part of the superintendent’s ‘right-sizing’
The district was in danger of bankruptcy and needed to close 26
buildings to survive, officials said.
This fall, most former Westport students will attend Southwest
Early College Campus in Brookside. SWECC did not have a football
team last year and even though school enrollment will top 1,200,
they will not field a team this year either.
“(Football’s) the only thing that kept me going
besides graduation next year,” said Shon Barnes, a senior
planning to attend SWECC.
Barnes and several other teammates are disappointed. All summer
they wondered if their dreams to pursue football scholarships
However, late last week, district officials told SWECC students
they could play football by trying out for any team in the
Still, many argue SWECC should field its own team. The school
has a practice field, an old locker room, and Coach Stanley said
equipment from Westport is available.
(Tell us what you think. Leave a comment below and
email me any questions you have for the district.)
NBC Action News is working on getting answers from district
officials. Some parents called the decision unacceptable. In
response, at least one mother took her son out the Kansas City
Public School district.
“It's so unfair because the Southwest that I knew when I
was in high school 30 years ago always had a football team,”
said Lorri Anderson whose son Derron Whitley is a senior and former
all-Interscholastic League athlete. “As a matter of fact,
(Derron’s) older brother went to Southwest the year (Derron)
was born. He played football there. So, it's so unfair for the
student-athletes because (football) gives them something to focus
on, something to keep their grades up and for a lot of them, that's
the only way they have an opportunity to go to college."
Look for more on this story on NBC Action News and
NBCActionNews.com. We are working on a series of stories regarding
the Southwest-Westport merger and the implementation of Dr.
Covington’s ‘right-sizing’ plan.
We also plan to engage district leadership during a live
television special later this month.
So, if you have a question to ask the superintendent, please