UPDATE: Tacoma teachers did not approve a strike. School began today and all athletic events will continue on as scheduled.
If Tacoma School District teachers vote this evening to strike, athletic events, including football games, could be cancelled for the duration of the strike.
“All sports events will be cancelled,” said Lincoln football coach Mike Merrill, who teaches science and physical education. “That’s what we’ve been told.”
Tacoma’s five high schools are scheduled to play season-opening football games this week. Most other sports begin next week, though Stadium’s volleyball team is schedule to compete in the Emerald City Volleyball Invitational at Mercer Island on Friday.
Kevin Hanis, president of Tacoma’s coaches association and football coach at Mount Tahoma, cautioned that no decision will be made until after the district’s teachers meet this evening at Mount Tahoma to determine their options.
On Friday night, Lincoln is scheduled to play at Mount Tahoma and Wilson is at Stadium. Foss is supposed to host Kent-Meridian on Saturday at Mount Tahoma. All three games are non-league contests and will not affect a team’s chances to qualify for the postseason. Mount Tahoma and Stadium begin league play in Week 3, while Foss, Lincoln and Wilson start in Week 5.
Dave Lutes, athletic director for the Kent School District, said Wednesday afternoon that he has not been told that Kent-Meridian’s game at Foss is in jeopardy of not being played.
When teachers in the Kent School District went on strike for 19 days at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year, athletic events carried on as scheduled. Lutes said he hoped something would be worked out to allow the games to go on.
“That would not be fair to the kids,” Lutes said, “and that’s not fair to our kids.”
Stadium football coach Jess Nelson said some players have asked him what will happen if the teachers strike.
“Right now school starts on Thursday and we’ve got a game on Friday,” he said. “We’ll be ready until we’ve been told otherwise.”