Could the Oakland Athletic League’s days be numbered?


The Oakland Athletic League has been without a full-time commissioner for almost a year now, and sports advocates and league insiders say they have a bad feeling the school district is going to let the historic institution fizzle because of a lack of funds.

Carl Steward, a columnist, wrote about the situtation in today’s Tribune:

One of the most historically proud and distinguished prep sports leagues in America, the Oakland Athletic League, is in trouble. If it doesn’t get a smart, committed savior right now, the OAL could be history by the time school resumes in the fall.

Unfortunately, that would-be savior would require strong school district support that doesn’t currently appear to exist. Instead, the school board and state administrator overseeing a league that produced Bill Russell and Frank Robinson and more recently Leon Powe and Marshawn Lynch has been looking into dissolving the six-school CIF section — formed in 1940 — and forcing its only league, the OAL, into the North Coast Section.

Read the full column here. (A news story is expected to come out tomorrow.)

If the OAL dissolved, how would the change affect Oakland’s athletic programs and players? Is there any benefit to joining the North Coast Section? If not, what should the district do to protect the league?


Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • John

    No THIS is what Proposition Y money should be used for.
    What ya think Jean Quan?

  • Barbara

    OAL is a show case of our youths’ athletic talent. It is the pride of our schools and our families. WE need the OAL, the arguments for dissolving and becoming a member of the NCS are unsound economically, and could lead to the destruction of a incredible history.

    Let’s speak out!

  • Skyline Teacher

    This smacks of the “cheaper if not necessarily better” approach of the state. Somebody needs to figure out how many *teams* would disappear if the OAL collapsed.

    One thing that may be true, though, is that nobody qualified is actually applying for the job. At least that is what Skyline teachers were told yesterday by our “Nexo” about the vacant Skyline principalship.

    I commented earlier that I couldn’t imagine OUSD would push out Principal Green, warts and all, if it didn’t know it could replace her with somebody better. Apparently, I was wrong.

    According to the district rep our low pay rate compared to other districts and generally uninviting mis en scene is enough to keep the qualified applicant pool dismally depressed.

    It’s outrageous to look around at the extreme wealth in California and the Bay Area and think we can’t afford to pay athletic directors and principals an attractive wage. We are not talking about WELFARE, you fiscal conservatives, we’re talking about EDUCATION and other forms of youth development.

  • John

    Skyline Teacher: Unfortunately a non-fiscal conservative and his colleagues lost count of the cookies in the OUSD cookie jar and the district was (per legislative mandate) taken over by a state manager/cookie counter. Perhaps a little once upon on a critical time fiscal conservatism and professional accounting would have kept OUSD more attractive for high end administrative talent with the right ethnic credentials.

    It’s a shame that NBA & NFL feeder schools might be getting short changed! It’s the last place I’d cut if I were an OUSD bean counter/cutter!

    Perhaps another OEA ‘March around wealthy Oakland corporations’ with ‘Share the wealth (bail us out)’ picket signs would make things rosy? You never know. You just NEVER ever ever know.

  • http://www.jeanquan.org Jean Quan

    Sorry, I have been incredibly behind in my emails because of the City Budget. But no Measure Y money was laid out as violence prevention funds — counseling children exposed to violence; conflict resolution curriculum for schools, case management and programs working with kids most at risK (abused, on probation, high truancy).

    However, when I was first elected to the school board I worked with OAL grands, Lou Jones and the business community raise funds to save the program and as chair of the Finance Committee got some of the first increases in funds in about 20 years. I am still finishing up our City Budget, but if someone would contact me about what is happening …I would like to see if I can help.

  • Wayne Johnson

    As a former Oakland School District, scholar, athlete, and coach, I say keep the sports programs. They are certainly on par with the academic programs, at least insofar as the African American student body is concerned.

    Not mentioned above are professional athletes, Gary G. Pettis, 1976, Clifford T. Robinson, 1977, and the legendary, Rickey Henderson, class of 1976, to mention a few. It provides the students with an outlet and it can be an experience in the rites of passage.