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Glen Mills dropped to associate member status in Del Val

Pottsgrove fullback Jadore Colbert (32) plows by Glen Mills' linebacker Robert Hill (3) on a 23-yard reception during the first half of Friday's game. (Thomas Nash - Digital First Media)

With Glen Mills Schools unable to field teams in football, soccer and tennis because of declining enrollment, the Del Val League voted unanimously to accept the school as an associate member for the 2019-2020 season, the league announced in a release Tuesday.

Glen Mills will remain a member of the league in cross country, basketball, wrestling, swimming, baseball and track and field, according to the release.

The vote took place during the league’s bi-monthly general meeting Monday at Interboro High School, Penn Wood athletic director and league president Rap Curry said Tuesday. The meeting included the superintendents, principals and athletic directors from the six member schools. Glen Mills was represented at the meeting by Jim Chobany, the director of education, and athletic director Pete Forjohn.

“We agreed to be an associate member,” Forjohn said.

Glen Mills has been under increased scrutiny since two former counselors were charged with allegedly assaulting a student last July. Recent reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer detailed decades of alleged abuse at the school for court-adjudicated juvenile males in Thornbury Township. Its enrollment has taken a hit because of the reports.

The Department of Health and Human Services in Philadelphia decided to remove 51 students from the school. That move prompted jurisdictions from across the state and country to follow suit, according to published reports. Delaware County district attorney Katayoun Copeland said his office is investigating the school. State Auditor general Eugene DePasquale announced Monday that he plans to run an audit of the state licensed institution.

Since the reports surfaced, Randy Ireson has stepped down as the president of Glen Mills for “health reasons.”

“As athletic directors, we’ve been in discussions about things with everything that’s going on at Glen Mills,” Curry said. “So, obviously, their enrollment played a part in it. So we were in communication of what spring sports it could affect and boys tennis was one. The amount of scheduling we have to do because of having a small league led us into a larger conversation about the fall and fall sports.”

This move, Curry added, should not be taken as a rebuke of Glen Mills.

“It’s not like we’re saying, ‘Hey, we’re not playing Glen Mills anymore,’ or that they had to remove themselves from the Del Val,” Curry said. “It was really fairness from what we all know we go through scheduling-wise.”

Glen Mills’ entry into the Del Val League back in the 1980s was met with mixed reviews. Some people were for it and many were against it. The biggest trouble point was football. Glen Mills voluntarily withdrew from the league for football only in 1995 after several league members complained the football program had become too powerful and had outgrown the competition in the Del Val.

Glen Mills returned as a league member in football in 2008.

With only five teams in the league for football, that means the other schools have to find another game to fill that spot on the schedule, but at least now they have time to do so.

“It would be tough on all of us if they came back on us in July and August and said they couldn’t field a certain team,” Curry said. “We all sat down and talked about what was best for all the schools and we went forward with what we thought was best for all the schools.”

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