SAN DIEGO (AP) — A governing body for high school sports in San Diego has imposed sanctions on a private Catholic high school’s football program whose players were accused of posting racist photos of a rival team from a mostly Latino public high school.
The San Diego City Conference placed Cathedral Catholic High’s football coach on a two-game suspension and placed the team on probation for two years after investigating two social media posts, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
On the day Cathedral Catholic and Lincoln High played each other in April, players and coaches at Lincoln High learned a Cathedral player for the private school shared social media posts showing someone wearing a shirt that read “Catholics vs. Convicts III.” Another post showed Cathedral players making a gang sign.
The controversy harkened to a controversial slogan in the late 1980s that Notre Dame University students coined for a T-shirt amid a fierce football rivalry with the University of Miami. The rivalry culminated in a 1988 game later spotlighted in a 2016 ESPN documentary called “Catholics vs. Convicts.”
The San Diego City Conference ordered Cathedral Catholic, whose student body is majority white, to implement a restorative education program. The conference oversees athletic teams in the San Diego Unified School District and some private schools.
Five days after the game, Cathedral Catholic issued an apology for the social media photos but declined to say whether the students who wore the T-shirts had been suspended, according to the newspaper.
Cathedral Catholic High is a private school in Carmel Valley that enrolls about 1,600 students. The school charges $20,000 in annual tuition, although 35% of its students receive financial aid.
Lincoln, a San Diego Unified school, is located in southeastern San Diego and enrolls about 1,400 students; 87% are from low-income families. About 18% of Lincoln students are Black and 71% are Hispanic.