Basketball game called off because of dispute over Confederate symbol


PRESTONSBURG — Officials at two Eastern Kentucky schools involved in a controversy
over the use of Confederate emblems have postponed Friday night’s scheduled
basketball game, school officials said.

David School, whose coach had attempted to boycott the game, and the Allen
Central High School Rebels, will reschedule the game at a later date, Floyd
County Schools Superintendent Paul Fanning said.

David principal Emma Kriz held a news conference Friday to announce that she
and Allen Central principal Lorena “Sis” Hall had agreed to the
postponement, citing controversy raised by the attempted boycott.

David basketball coach Ned Pillersdorf wrote to Allen Central officials in
December, claiming his team — which includes the only black player in
Floyd County — had voted unanimously not to play the game. Pillersdorf
cited an incident last year in which Allen Central students waved a Confederate
flag at his team, which also included a black player. The school’s board
of directors, however, overruled Pillersdorf and directed that the game be played.

“I want to set the record straight,” Kriz said during Friday’s
news conference. “The David School’s ball team players never voted
to boycott the game at Allen Central.”

Pillersdorf said he was surprised the game had been canceled, but he did not
back away from his previous statement.

“My team and I voted not to play the game, and we went as far to discuss
playing an alternative game. I discussed this matter with Ms. Kriz and was surprised
several weeks later when she handed me a press release, saying I didn’t
have the authority to cancel the game.”

Pillersdorf said he had received reports that he was no longer the coach, “but
when I called the school, I was told no decision had been made yet.”

The timing is ironic, Pillersdorf said, because he said “we accomplished
yesterday (Thursday) what we had been seeking all along.”

Fanning said Thursday that the school’s Confederate flag and Rebel mascot
would not be present during the game. Fanning said he both appreciated and respected
Kriz’s decision.

“I will certainly support her decision and we’ll move on.”

Fanning also said he would not allow the county’s students to be disrupted
by any controversy over Confederate symbols when the game is rescheduled.

“If I have to close the gym to all spectators, I’ll do it,”
he said.

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