Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints

The Seraphim

Awaiting AIA decision, team keeps focus on game

Senior+Football+team+members+pose+around+Photographer+Mike+Harvey%27s+camera
Senior Football team members pose around Photographer Mike Harvey's camera

Senior Football team members pose around Photographer Mike Harvey's camera

Mike Harvey

Mike Harvey

Senior Football team members pose around Photographer Mike Harvey's camera

Sam Hertle and Ellie ODonogue, Staff Writers

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With a 4-2  record, the varsity football team’s road to the championship has looked promising … until now.  A recent notification sent to NDP by the AIA has some players concerned about their season.

On Sept. 15, the AIA notified NDP administration that it had deemed NDP violated an AIA Bylaw (23.8.2) related to “Out of Season Football Activity.”  

While the controversy has played out in the local media, the unheard voices–those of the players–have yet to be heard, the team is waiting to hear  what  possible consequences the school may face.

AIA Bylaw 16.1 describes four penalties which the AIA may impose on a school if it is judged to have been in violation. They include advisement, warning, probation and disqualification. Probation and disqualification include a team not being permitted to participate in the playoffs or a particular competition.

For football seniors, this is a devastating possibility.

They unanimously agreed, to paraphrase, the situation is unfortunate

Corner Eric Muro said,  “We haven’t made it to the playoffs in our three years at NDP, and now, when we finally have the chance to make it, it can be taken away from us.”

Senior left guard Andrew Nadolski said he “has been playing football since fifth grade” and has “always dreamed about winning a championship one day.”

He added that he “doesn’t understand why we are being punished,” adding, “I do not think that the situation should take away my opportunity to fulfill my dream.”

The original controversy stems from players wearing football equipment during  an Advanced P.E. summer school class in which participating students received a half a credit for P.E.

The summer class was available to all students. Students signed up for it online like any other summer school course and completed the school-approved curriculum.  

Nadolski said, “I felt like I got better and faster, and I improved on my skills.”

Senior defensive end Colin Taylor and running back/receiver Drew Jackse said they understood that the AIA “only regulates extracurricular activities and feel (they) did nothing wrong.”

However, the NDP football seniors are not letting the controversy take away their focus from their game.

Senior right guard Luke Forte said, “Our team is ready to play; our offense and defense are putting in work, and we are just going out with the mindset to win. We’re just gonna win and play the best we can regardless of what may happen.”

Jackse added that the issue does not affect their practice. He said that they “do not talk about it and do not think about it.”

Muro said the team will “block out the noise and focus on what we can control.”

No matter the outcome, senior football players still “totally respect the coaches,” said left tackle Mike Girardin.

Taylor and Jackse added that they feel “nothing but respect” towards their coaches and their actions were in their “interest to better the players.”

Muro said, “They (coaches) are our role models and turned around our football program for the better.”

After AIA notified the school of its findings in a letter Sept. 15, President Jim Gmelich explained the situation to parents in a letter.

As they focus on their game, Girardin says the team has “faith that our administration can handle it” and resolve the issue.

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Awaiting AIA decision, team keeps focus on game