Inaugural DCSAA football playoffs will include no private schools

September 6, 2012

The inaugural D.C. Statewide Athletic Association playoffs will not include a single private school after the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference decided to withdraw Gonzaga, which had been the league’s lone applicant.

At a WCAC athletic directors’ meeting last month, the league chose to keep its three D.C.-based schools out of the DCSAA playoffs for at least this season. Initially, Gonzaga had informed the DCSAA it would compete for the city football championship, but the Eagles have since rescinded their participation.

No D.C.-based schools affiliated with the Interstate Athletic Conference or the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference — the area’s other private school leagues — elected to contend for the DCSAA football championship this season either, according to a list of approved schools provided by DCSAA Athletic Director Clark Ray.

Gonzaga Athletic Director Joe Reyda acknowledged he originally was on board with his school’s football team competing for the DCSAA title, as well as that the WCAC decided otherwise. He referred all other comment on the matter to Leary.

“The only reason is that our season goes pretty long, our kids participate in multiple sports and, especially in football, this would take the game into December,” WCAC Commissioner Jim Leary said Wednesday. “Let them get it started, and I’m happy to talk to Clark Ray about this when it comes to winter or spring sports again.”

The first-round games for the non-public schools bracket of the DCSAA playoffs are Nov. 17, and the second round is Nov. 24. The DCSAA championship game will take place Dec. 1.

The WCAC title game is scheduled for Nov. 18, though that date was announced Aug. 7, which was well after the DCSAA playoff dates were set.

Leary said in order for any WCAC school to participate in non-league postseason play, the conference’s Board of Directors must provide approval. Given that the issue came up for discussion in August — a few weeks before the start of the season — Leary said he decided not to seek Board approval for the sports that conclude in the 2012 calendar year.

While neither Gonzaga, St. John’s nor Carroll will contend for the city championship this season, all three schools’ football teams have been sanctioned by the DCSAA.

With Gonzaga out of contention, the DCSAA playoffs essentially will determine the hierarchy off the District’s public and public charter schools. More specifically, the DCSAA championship game likely will provide a venue in which it will be determined how Friendship Collegiate Academy — the lone powerhouse of the D.C. public charter schools — stacks up against the best the DCIAA has to offer.

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