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PSL’s Douglass Academy pulls plug on season, due to lack of numbers

By: , September 4, 2019, 2:26 pm

Due to declining enrollment and participation, Detroit Frederick Douglass Academy will not have a football team this season, after forfeiting to Detroit Community in Week 1.

The school’s head football coach and athletic director, Shaheed Saleem, confirmed that news to STATE CHAMPS! in an email.

Douglass’ scheduled Week 2 opponent, Zeeland East (1-0), will now have a week off before facing Grand Rapids Catholic Central on Sept. 13. The remaining two teams on Douglass’ out-of-division schedule — Mumford and CMA — are both from the Detroit Public School League. 

Douglass’ forfeiture leaves the PSL Division 3 with just three squads: Northwestern, Central and Henry Ford.

Douglass’ Midtown PSL neighbor two miles over, Detroit Delta Prep (271 students), similarly pulled the plug on its season in 2018 after four seasons. The Pioneers were 2-3 through five weeks, before forfeiting their final three scheduled games.  

Established in 1997, the Douglass football program hadn’t won more than one game since 2015, going 2-27 over the previous three seasons combined. 

Douglass had its only five winning seasons in a six-year span from 2007 to 2012, but had to forfeit seven of eight wins in 2010. The Hurricanes’ only playoff win in four appearances (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012) came a year later, when they beat Detroit Southwestern, 36-18, before losing to Grosse Ile in the Division 4 district finals.

A year after that, the Douglass enrollment dipped from 472 to 306, dropping the Hurricanes from D4 to D7, and hasn’t been higher than 334 in the seven seasons since then, coming in at 216 this year.