Cincinnati CYO to dissolve after this school year
The Catholic Youth Sports Organization, Inc., better known as Cincinnati CYO, informed the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Youth Athletics Commission in late December that it would dissolve at the end of the current school year.
Cincinnati CYO is an independent, non-profit organization that has served parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for 15 years. While it serves primarily Catholic youth, it has no formal relationship with the Catholic church.
“CYO worked very hard and very diligently for a long time and we’re very thankful for everything they’ve done,” said Greg Tankersley, a member of the Youth Athletics Commission leadership team and co-founder of the Greater Catholic Youth League. “As we look to the future, there is a tremendous opportunity, diocese-wide, to do even more than what CYO is doing in our present leagues.”
A person answering the phone at Cincinnati CYO Wednesday said the organization had no comment.
A press release from the commission said the archdiocese was informed of the decision by Bill Rice, president of Cincinnati CYO, on December 22, 2014. Tankersley said the Cincinnati CYO includes about 40 religious organizations (parishes, etc.) and involves roughly 6,000 students in grades three through eight. The league sponsors boys’ and girls’ basketball, and boys’ and girls’ volleyball. The league had included baseball as well and operates only in the southwestern part of the archdiocese.
The decision should not hurt participation in youth sports for area Catholics. Tankersley said short-term solutions are in the works to ensure that volleyball and basketball continue at affected parishes.
Cincinnati CYO’s decision to dissolve comes as the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has implemented the “Charter on Catholic Youth Athletics” that seeks to grow participation and strengthen the Catholic identity of youth sports.
“CYO is one of many leagues,” Tankersley said. “CYO is not owned by the archdiocese and it was just one of many leagues around the area that supported Catholic youth for sports… As we looked to raise the expectations for the leagues and everything for the kids involved, (Rice) just decided, ‘Hey it’s time for us to get out of this business.'”
More than 30 years ago, the archdiocese discontinued its management of youth athletics. In the void, hundreds of parishes created their own athletic associations, booster clubs and league affiliations with willing volunteers whose work ensured Catholic youth still had access to sports. The downside to the system over the past three decades has been a lack of consistency and, at times, a breakdown in the focus or purpose of youth sports in the archdiocese.
“We are not interested in running leagues or scheduling officials or anything like that,” Tankersley said. “As a commission we want to create standard of expectations for those organizations that do, that benefit our young people.”
To meet the challenges faced by the dissolution of Cincinnati CYO, the commission will host a meeting for presidents of booster organizations Feb. 2 at All Saints Church on Montgomery Road. The meeting is mainly for those who had been part of Cincinnati CYO, but presidents of booster organizations interested in discussing the future of Cincinnati-area Catholic youth athletics are also invited.
The Charter on Catholic Youth Athletics was promulgated on March 4, 2014 by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr. The Charter mandated the creation of the Archdiocesan Commission on Catholic Youth Athletics, which operates in conjunction with the Archdiocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. As described in the Charter, “Catholic Youth Athletics furthers the mission of the Catholic Church by providing sports experiences for youth that are firmly rooted in the Catholic faith tradition, based on the goals of the Catholic youth ministry, and aligned with the evangelizing mission of the Catholic Church.” For more information on the Commission and the Charter on Catholic Youth Athletics, visit www.catholiccincinnati.org/ayatf.
Posted Jan. 28, 2015