In what seemed like the inevitable St. Bernard has suspended their football program for the season, just one week after the resignation of former head coach Larry Muno.
The news, which was announced in a statement on the school’s facebook page, is a drastic turnaround from what St. Bernard administrators had been saying for the last week. In a statement last Wednesday, the school’s co-principals Michael Alvarez and Cynthia Hoepner said that, “We are not canceling the football program, as long as there are enough students to field a team.”
The lack of players had eventually became apparent as the week progressed under recently hired coach John Bibb.
As recently as Monday, Bibb had that they would play this nine-game season when discussing the cancellation of the season opening game against neighbor Westchester, though he could not say how many players were on the team. On the first day he took over the program last week, there were approximately 18 players during the afternoon practice.
Part of the reason was new requirement establishing a means test in order for students to receive financial aid.
“The school incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid tuition in the past few years because the school did not administer a financial needs test to determine whether a family qualified for aid,” archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg, a former teacher and coach at St. Bernard, told the Daily Breeze. “The archdiocese required the school this year to mandate that all families seeking financial aid must first submit to a standard needs test. Financial need will be given to those who demonstrate need.
The cancellation of football program comes after the St. Bernard won the Del Rey League title and finished the regular season undefeated in 2011.