A suburban Chicago junior football team wants its suspension lifted and allowed to play in the playoffs.
The league suspended the Glenwood Cougars 8th grade football team for including a 13-year-old academically gifted player on the roster. Tremayne Gandy Junior is technically in high school after advancing a few years from 7th grade last year to 10th grade this year.
“It’s something extraordinary, it’s something we should celebrate,” Glenwood football coach Gary Richardson said. “What message are we sending them? That education is not the right path? No, that’s not what we do here at Glenwood.”
The Southwest Midget Football League suspended the entire Glenwood team for having a high school player on the roster, which is against league rules.
The league emailed a statement to NBC 5 which read in part: “…it is regrettable to apply a disciplinary action that affects the organization at large, however, each of the league’s thirteen franchises has agreed to honor these regulations in exchange for fair play.”
The Rainbow Push Coalition supports the team in its efforts to overturn the suspension.
“To have the right to play taken away is unconscionable, unethical and somewhat criminal,” said Bishop Tavis Grant, acting national executive director of the Rainbow Push Coalition. “No sports organization has that kind of rule that if you do better in class, you can’t play on the field. So Reverend Jackson and I called Roger Goodell from the NFL.”
Below is the full statement from the Southwest Midget Football League:
We recognize that these have been a difficult two weeks as the league has gone through this difficult time. The Southwest Midget Football League (SWMFL) Board of Directors has made the unfortunate decision to take action due to a rule violation (Rule Section 4, Subject G) on behalf of the Glenwood Cougars Football and Cheerleading franchise, thus resulting in the disqualification of the Glenwood Cougars from the 2022 post-season playoffs. As Rule 4, Subject G states: No player shall be registered if he enters high school.
As leaders of the SWMFL, we are driven by the advancement and potential of each of our players, from Mighty Might to Varsity. While we are thrilled to learn of a player’s brilliance in our league and proud to witness his high school advancement at an early age, it is under the supervision of the SWWMFL Board of Directors to evaluate and establish rules for team cohesion. morality. As part of our mission to inspire our young people to learn and practice the ideals of sportsmanship and fair play, we are honored to learn that one of our own has excelled academically far beyond above his peers in high school thanks to his hard work, dedication and commitment. in his academics. The path to success is never easy, but this player has continued to show commitment to his academics and for that we recognize and honor his time with the Glenwood Cougars.
It is never easy to discipline any franchise in our league; despite this, it is imperative that as the SWMFL Board of Directors, we consider our position as the governing body of the league to provide authority to make decisions that require immediate attention or that will have an impact on the operation of the SWMFL. In all cases like this, it is unfortunate to impose disciplinary action that affects the organization at large, however, each of the league’s thirteen franchises have agreed to honor these regulations in exchange for fair play.
We understand how this decision has affected the SWMFL community and regret that it has caused division among us. Our thoughts and decisions are always for the betterment of the game, our fans and supporters, and most importantly our players and cheerleaders. We hope our supporters acknowledge our due diligence in adhering to established regulations to avoid similar violations in the future.
We are proud to represent Chicagoland’s youth football and cheerleading community and will continue to fight for the fairness and well-being of our players for this season and the seasons to come.
Sincerely, SWMFL Board of Directors