CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A highly-anticipated showdown between two of Chicago’s heavyweight high school basketball teams won't happen Saturday.
The game between Morgan Park and Simeon has been postponed. It was scheduled to be played at Gwendolyn Brooks, instead of Morgan Park. But the Morgan Park principal made the decision to put off the game after parents threatened a boycott.
The last time Morgan Park and Simeon played in December, the game took place at Simeon High School. It was Morgan Park’s turn to host, but because the school's tiny gymnasium can only accommodate 275 people, the game was scheduled to be moved to a neutral site: Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, which is about two miles away.
And that made Morgan Park parents furious.
"We have decided officially that there will be no game tomorrow,” said parent Tiffanyy Burrell.
Burrell is the mother of Morgan Park junior Romelo Burrell, one of the top players on the state's top-ranked team. Burrell and other parents asked the team to forfeit Saturday’s game against Simeon, and instead hold a protest in front of Morgan Park High School at the time tipoff was scheduled.
"We have full confidence in our boys. We're number one in the state. We have an extraordinary coach. One loss should not hurt us. And if it does, then that's the cost we have to pay to take a stance and prove to our sons that doing what's right isn't easy,” Burrell said.
A spokesperson for CPS says they chose to move the game because a thousand people were expected to attend the contest, which is far in excess of Morgan Park’s capacity.
CPS says it has spent about $30-million on capital improvements at the 100 year old high school. But parents are wondering why there's no money for a bigger gym for one of the top basketball programs in the state.
"The gym is only the tip fo the iceberg. That place needs to be renovated or we need a new school,” Burrell said.
So what does the team think about all this? Players that FOX 32 talked to after school Friday say it's in their parent's hands.
"I leave that up to my parents. Whatever they say goes. I can't disrespect the grown folks,” said athlete Cam Irvin.
"Even if they knew we couldn't play here then I think that Simeon should never have had their home game and it should have been both at neutral sites,” said athlete Ayo Dosuamu.
Morgan Park’s basketball coach Nick Irvin has campaigned for a new gym at the school, but didn't return FOX 32’s email seeking comment.