MADISON (WKOW)-- Madison Metropolitan School District is not planning to participate in the football, volleyball, or girls swim and dive alternate seasons, which just began. MMSD Athletic Director Jeremy Schlitz cited concerns about playing indoors and in the case of football, using protective equipment.
Madison West's Brad Murphy decided to provide an alternative. Murphy has formed the Madison West Club Football Team with athletes from all four public high schools. They are allowed to play WIAA teams but are not sponsored by the school district. In fact, Murphy acknowledges he's putting his job at risk by coaching this team.
"It is very possible that I could be let go," Murphy said. "I've been told that. For me, I love these kids. I've been around them for a very long time. I love coaching football. I know what it does for them. This is an extension of their family. These are things the kids need. I know that, and if I can provide that for them, I am certainly going to."
"To think that I wasn't going to get that chance and the only grade not to have their senior year, we're really thankful because if we didn't have a season we wouldn't know what to do," Madison La Follette Senior Kavonte Shorter said.
So far, the team has two games scheduled in the seven-week season and is hoping the Big Eight conference and others will schedule games against them.
"These are all Big Eight kids," Murphy said. "They deserve to play just like those other high schools, and I'm really hoping we can have further dialogue with those ADS."
"They've been kind of put off to the side for so many months here and all the other kids in the county get to play football, except for our four Madison schools, and that's not right," Murphy continued.
The Madison West Club Football team had to fundraise for equipment and nearly $4,000 has been raised in just one day.
The fundraiser says, "all funds will be used to help cover the costs of equipment for the players, facilities, athletic trainer(s), and other costs directly associated with providing the kids a safe and equitable opportunity to participate in high school sports."
Please let me know if you have any questions or need help connecting with the organizer.
The plan is to play their home games at Penn Park and possibly Edgewood.