Martin Luther King Jr. Sr. High School will now play Cass Technical High School for the PSL Division Championship.
The game is still on for Friday, October 23 at Ford Field.
After an on-field brawl during Detroit King’s semifinal game on Friday night against Detroit Cody, King was forced to forfeit the PSL Division I Football Championship.
Today, Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Darnell Earley said after reviewing the facts that led to the forfeiture, he and administrators have decided to let the game proceed.
Read the full statement below:
I have reviewed the facts that led to the previously announced forfeiture of the PSL Division I Football Championship by Martin Luther King Jr. Sr. High School to Cass Technical High School. And, after meeting with the DPS Athletic Director, administrators and public safety staff, as well as the MLK football coaches, I have made the decision to allow the game to proceed as scheduled at Ford Field on Friday, October 23, 2015.
I do, however, strongly believe that there must be some accountability and repercussions felt by those involved for their actions. We are identifying the aggressors from both teams who initiated the fight that took place after the Division Semi-Final game on Friday, October 16, 2015. The King players will be suspended from play in Friday’s championship game, and Cody players will be prohibited from playing in the first game of the 2016-17 school year. These actions are in accordance with District policies, which are consistent with Michigan High School Athletic Association guidelines. Additionally, those players and others involved from both teams will be charged under the District’s Student Code of Conduct.
All other disciplinary sanctions will stand, including the football programs at both schools being placed on probation for one year and forfeiting their 2016-preseason scrimmages.
Further, all players from both the King and Cody teams will be required to participate in the District’s
Restorative Practices behavior intervention program in conjunction with their continued athletic engagement and perform a substantial amount of community service. These provisions will be vigorously enforced.
A key factor in my decision was the fact that the King High School coaches took full responsibility for the actions of their players and will be rededicating themselves to ensuring that their players understand the important role good sportsmanship plays not just in high school, but in life.
This is an opportunity for a teachable moment that I believe can be helpful in dealing with the bigger problem of violence in our community and the responsibility our young people share in working toward a better school environment and climate.
I commend the King football coaches for stepping up and serving as role models for their players. While I am a firm believer in the letter of the law, I also know that in the spirit of the law, if we have an opportunity to shape a student’s life in a positive way for the long-term, it is incumbent upon us as adults to not only model the way, but also find more constructive compromises when available.
Finally, it should be noted that I fully endorse and support Athletic Director Alvin Ward’s decision to indefinitely suspend the Cody High School Varsity Football coaching staff.