Things have been quiet between Cardinal Gibbons and the two area 4A conferences that passed bylaws that prohibited their teams from playing non-public schools since the news broke late last month.
Gibbons athletic director Todd Schuler said he hasn’t had any direct communication with the Cap-8 or Southwest Wake Athletic conferences, who like Gibbons are members of the N.C. High School Athletic Association.
Principals of the Wake County schools plan to discuss the bylaws at a meeting to be determined, said Cary athletic director Mike Dunphy.
“We’re waiting to hear from our principals and that’s it,” he said.
After the story broke, Schuler said he received many calls of support from around the state. He’s since focused on helping his school figure out what to do in light of the news.
“At the end of the day, schools are free to schedule whomever they choose to schedule,” Schuler said. “We want to make sure our students, our families, our coaches are educated on the issues and are capable of speaking about them and that they don’t harbor any ill will or feelings toward a particular school or group.”
Curtis’ involvement comes up
A News & Observer reader questioned Gibbons principal Jason Curtis’ involvement with the Triangle Volleyball Club. Curtis, who was a volleyball coach in California before moving to North Carolina to take a teaching job at Gibbons, founded the club 13 years ago.
Curtis coaches some of the younger age groups, and Gibbons is North Carolina’s top volleyball program with nine state titles in 10 years. Curtis is also on the Gibbons admissions board.
Curtis maintains there is no conflict of interest.
He says he is not involved in the day-to-day operations of Triangle Volleyball Club and was paid as a director of volleyball clubs he started in California but not in North Carolina.
“The folks who are on the board of directors, who manage that organization, have never seen a conflict of interest. I’ve never received a question about it,” Curtis said. “I never, in my position as a founder, nor as an administrator, have I ever been paid nor have I invested money in it. My work and leadership was voluntary.”
Curtis, a college volleyball player, has coached different teams in the organization including his daughter’s teams. He was executive director from 2002-04, according to the club’s website.
He points out that Cardinal Gibbons, which has lost just once in the NCHSAA playoffs in 10 seasons of play, had been a volleyball powerhouse for many years before he moved to North Carolina.
Readers wonder: ‘Why not NCISAA?’
Some feedback from N&O readers suggested Gibbons move back to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association, which is where the Crusaders were for about two decades.
Gibbons - as well as Charlotte Catholic - is much larger than every NCISAA member. The NCISAA’s largest classification is 3A, of which Cary Academy (about 400 students) and Ravenscroft (700) are members.
Gibbons (about 1,400) and Charlotte Catholic (1,300) dwarf the competition, and school administration thinks it’s a better NCHSAA fit than NCISAA.
Gibbons had moved to the NCISAA in the 1980s when enrollment dipped and the school couldn’t field a football team.
“It’d be like us playing a 1A school out in the sticks. They just don’t have the kids,” Cardinal Gibbons football coach Steven Wright said last month.
“Us and Charlotte Catholic are just different in that sense. There’s just nobody who fits in that mold of being a private school the size that we are.”
According to the school, Gibbons had moved to the NCISAA in the 1980s when enrollment dipped and the school couldn’t field a football team. With about 300 students, it fit better with NCISAA teams who rarely schedule football. When Gibbons’ enrollment grew, the school re-joined the NCHSAA in 2005 and has won 55 state titles since.