CPS (CTU) strike cuts the Football season short

By Skylah Martinez ’21

The Football season has ended early due to CPS schools going on strike, which started Thursday Oct. 17. The Pritzker team was supposed to face South Shore high school that same day, but the game was postponed until after the strike. However, the strike continued up to Nov. 1 and the Football team’s last game of the season has officially been called off, wrapping up their season.

The last game they played was against Rauner College prep, who took the W for that game. Pritzker’s Football record for this season was 43. This season was more of a success than last years based on this record.

Player’s feelings toward the situation

Senior Humberto Romo, offensive right guard and defensive rush and nose on the team, expressed that he is “disappointed due to the fact that [they] lost [their] last game and do not have the opportunity to make a come back.”

When asked how he felt overall about his second and last year on the Football team, Romo stated, “I feel really accomplished by the amount of progress I have made since last year.” Nevertheless, Romo is “sad to hang up [his] jersey for the last time.”

Junior Antwine Johnson, a running back on the team, communicated that it was “very upsetting to hear that our season was ending two weeks early due to CPS going on strike.” He also made mention of his frustration toward the situation and not being able to play all of their scheduled games. 

Similarly, Junior Marcell Alfaro, a running back and linebacker, said that he too was “mad that [their] season is over because [he is] pretty sure every team member didn’t want to finish the season with an L.” 

Other teams affected by the strike

This strike not only affected the football team, but it affected the Girls’ Rugby and Boys’ Soccer team– both Varsity and JV.  CPS is who provides the referees at games, and the games could not go on without referees present. 

Many Fall sport athletes from schools all around Chicago had their seasons cut early due to the strike. This has resulted in many CPS students losing the opportunity of receiving an athletic scholarship.

On Nov. 1, the first day of class since the strike, a judge overruled IHSA by allowing CPS cross country runners to participate in sectionals. The judge went on to say, “I’m tired of adults making decisions that rob children of their childhood and their dreams.”

Coach Rychlik

Football coach and PE teacher Mark Rychlik has been coaching the Football team for years now. At the Fall season pep rally that took place on Oct. 11, Rychlik announced he will be stepping down from coaching football. 

Rychlik was not surprised that the season ended prematurely because “the teams in [their] division do not qualify for the IHSA playoffs.” He added that a ruling by IHSA only permitted CPS schools qualified for the IHSA playoffs to practice during the strike. But, a lawsuit took place in order for that to happen.  When asked how he felt about his last season coaching being cut short, Rychlik stated, “Personally, I would have liked to have finished the season since I will be stepping down from coaching football. I know that Coach Butler will do a great job and wish him all the best. I look forward to coaching my sons’ teams and will still go to as many games as possible. Pritzker Football has given me hundreds of great memories that I will never forget.”