High School Sports

Althoff must wait two months to learn South Seven Conference fate

Althoff running back Richard Cosey gains yardage during a second-round playoff game against Rochester.
Althoff running back Richard Cosey gains yardage during a second-round playoff game against Rochester. Chris Johns

Whatever fate awaits the Althoff athletic program and its standing with the South Seven Conference won’t be decided for another two months.

The Centralia school board in October passed a resolution authorizing its superintendent to ask other South Seven member schools to expel Althoff from the league. That request was heard during a regular meeting of conference school principals and athletic directors Tuesday, though no action was taken.

A vote will be taken at the next meeting Jan. 16.

The Centralia board’s resolution cited a three-year pattern of unsportsmanlike and abusive behavior — mainly against the Crusaders football team — that is “causing District students harm and causing them fear for their safety.”

It further calls out the Althoff administration for being “unprofessional” in its handling of the complaints.

Althoff Principal Dave Harris said Wednesday morning that he doesn’t know all the specific incidents that triggered Centralia’s action. Nothing new came to light Tuesday, he said.

“It was discussed some, but it was otherwise just like a regular meeting,” said Harris. “We talked about bylaws, schedules and set the next meeting date, but nothing much was said about (Centralia’s complaints). I still haven’t seen the resolution.”

Centralia Superintendent Chuck Lane provided a copy of the resolution to the Belleville News-Democrat, but has been unwilling to discuss specific incidents.

Harris deferred further questions to Marion High School Principal Joey Ohnesorge, the current South Seven Conference president.

“The only thing that I can tell you at this time is that all concerns were discussed and questions answered during our meeting (Tuesday),” Ohnesorge said in an email.

Tensions between Althoff and Centralia came to a head last year after an Althoff player put a late hit on a Centralia kicker during a football game. The Althoff player was penalized, but not ejected by referees. However, Althoff coach Ken Turner, on his own, removed the player from the game.

South Seven Conference members — which include Althoff, Centralia, Marion, Mount Vernon, Carbondale and Cahokia — also will vote Jan. 16 on Granite City’s application to join. Granite City is in its final season competing in the Southwestern Conference.

Todd Eschman: 618-239-2540, @tceschman

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