By Mark Ambrogi
Center Grove High School Principal Jeffry Henderson has said he was surprised the Carmel High School athletic department had requested to cancel its contracts with Center Grove in all sports.
His email to parents read: “This sudden request came as a shock, given the collaboration we have enjoyed over the last 25 years. We have reached out to Carmel to request a meeting to address any concerns they have regarding the future of our relationship.”
Henderson’s email to parents also stated the school’s goal is to do what is best for the students.
“We want to provide our students with an athletic experience that includes rigorous competition and the support necessary to help them excel in their sports and grow into responsible young adults,” the email stated. “We appreciate your support and patience with our administrative team and coaches, as we continue to work for what’s best for our students.”
Emily Bauer, director of community relations for Carmel Clay Schools, said no Carmel officials will comment on the matter at this time.
Stacy Conrad, executive director of communications for Center Grove Community School Corp., said it would be premature for Center Grove to make a comment to the media before the school has an opportunity to meet with Carmel representatives.
Carmel and Center Grove were charter members of Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference when it formed in 1996. The schools were voted out of the MIC in December 2021 when MIC officials learned Carmel and Center Grove were exploring membership in the Hoosiers Crossroads Conference.
The two schools both became independent when the HCC voted not to invite either team to join in January 2022.
The rivalry between Center Grove and Carmel has always been intense.
Carmel boys basketball coach Ryan Osborn was shoved by a Center Grove student when trying to leave the floor when there was a court storming after the host Trojans won 43-41 Jan. 6. According to published reports, the student received a three-day suspension, but the student’s father said Osborn should have some responsibility for the incident after he chose to walk through the celebrating students. A video shows Osborn directing his team around the students, but he walks into the middle of the celebration.