Aberdeen athletics gets OK to play

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

Aberdeen will have athletics when the school year begins.
The district was placed under conservatorship in May after a state Department of Education audit alleged 31 of 37 accreditation standards had not been met. That ruling put athletics and extracurricular activities in jeopardy.
On June 7, however, the MDE’s Office of Accreditation placed the district on probation. The ruling, short of withdrawing the school’s accreditation, means no penalties will be suffered by sports and extracurricular activities.
“It was a concern for everything, the community, players and everybody,” new head football coach Mark Bray said. “We were just hoping would we could keep the season.”
Bray was named interim coach at the end of May after fifth-year coach Chris Duncan stepped down. Bray will also serve as athletics director.
“Every sport can play its full schedule and participate in playoffs with this ruling,” conservator Bob Strebeck told the Monroe Journal. “Had the district lost its accreditation, it would have been a different story.”
Fears across the community ranged from a total loss of athletic programs to a limited football season with five division games and no playoffs.
Aberdeen has been to the MHSAA Class 3A state football championship game twice in the last three years.
“That’s the thing about athletics here. It holds the community together,” said Bray.. “When you think about Aberdeen, you think about band, football and basketball… I think one reason is they saw the community is ready to get the problem fixed.”
Basketball coach Roy Hazzle will enter his 26th season and 36th overall at the school.
His teams have gone to the state basketball tournament three times in the past six years.
“I’m glad the kids can continue to play,” Hazzle said. “That would have hurt the young people and community and school. It’s another way for the kids to express themselves other than education. I’m glad the committee chose not to.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com