CHARLES CITY, Iowa – Nearly a month after a racist comment was made to a Charles City baseball player, Charles City Community Schools has announced they are evaluating whether they should stay in the North East Iowa Conference. The comments were directed at a black Comets’ outfielder during a baseball game against Waverly Shell-Rock on June 27th.
Charles City isn’t the only concerned member of the NEIC. Monday during a New Hampton School Board of Directors meeting, the topic was discussed. According to the New Hampton Tribune, Superintendent Jay Jurrens had this to say about W-SR, “They have no problem attacking individuals on the field (or court) and it’s a question of values. They look at it as the ‘Sixth Man,’ ‘the 12th Man’ type of thing like colleges have. But this is high school sports and there’s no place for that.”
On Tuesday, New Hampton and Charles City called an emergency meeting of the NEIC superintendents. Charles City said, “at the meeting, we outlined our expectation moving forward, including the involved school district (Waverly Shell-Rock) developing clear, measurable action steps to resolve racism and sportsmanship issues.” Also requested at the meeting by Charles City is a one year penalty-free moratorium for Charles City refusing to play Waverly Shell-Rock during the 2020-21 academic year. Charles City explained that if their demands are not met, they will pursue a new conference partnership.
The NEIC began awarding a “sportsmanship champion” in 2008. Standings haven’t yet been released for 2018-20, but from 2008-17, Waverly-Shell Rock finished last in the sportsmanship ratings every year.
Following the rejection of Mason City and the departure of Oelwein following the 2021 academic year, the conference will be left with just six members. With New Hampton and Charles City on the ropes, the future of the NEIC is grim.