Why Irish teams have no conference championships

Athletics director explains school’s lack of membership


Luke Spencer

State championship plaques — but none for conference titles – take up much of the wall space in the Welch Activity Center.

Athletics are a big part of the success Cathedral has built as a school. With State championship banners dating back many decades hanging on the walls in the Welsh Athletic Center, just walking into the gym shows the history of Irish athletic domination.

But what you will not see among these banners are conference championships, as this school does not compete in an athletic conference, despite its desire to be included in one.

According to Athletics Director Mr. Rick Streiff, the Irish have tried to become affiliated with athletic conference a few times a few times over the years. Streiff said via Zoom, “We’ve tried to join a couple (of) different conferences.”

In 2013, an attempt was made to join the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference, which currently includes large schools such as Carmel, Warren Central and Center Grove. However, the application to join the MIC was not accepted. Streiff said, “There were certain schools that did not want us in there because we take kids from their township.” He also added, “They don’t want to play us because if we beat them, then their kids are going to come to our school. I mean that’s what we’ve been told.”

They don’t want to play us because if we beat them, then their kids are going to come to our school.

— Athletics Director Mr. Rick Streiff

In 2016, the Circle City Conference was formed, and it included other Catholic schools in the Indianapolis area such as Bishop Chatard, Brebeuf Jesuit, Roncalli and Guerin Catholic. Streiff said that former Principal Mr. Dave Worland was notified that Cathedral was not invited to join. He added, “The reason being was that we were too good, and that nobody else in that league could compete with us.”

When asked to confirm this story via email, Worland said, “Mr. James McNeany, the principal at Guerin Catholic High School, was appointed to contact me in order to give me a courtesy call telling me that they were meeting to start this particular conference, but the group all agreed that Cathedral would not be considered.”

However, Worland said that the reasoning for Cathedral not being included was not because nobody wanted to play them, but instead because Cathedral’s enrollment was much larger than most of the other schools in the conference.

Being in a conference would have both advantages and its disadvantages.

Streiff said that a major advantage of joining a conference would be scheduling. He said, “It would make my life so much easier and Coach (Mr. Jason) Delaney’s life as the assistant AD so much easier because if you’ve got a 10-team conference, for example, your football schedule is already full. I mean you play the nine conference games, and that’s your regular season.”

Instead, Streiff and Delaney have to find opponents to play during the regular season, which can be difficult, since most teams are members a conference, and therefore play a conference schedule. However, if Cathedral were in an athletic conference, the teams would not be able to schedule as much out-of-state competition. Streiff said, “The disadvantages of being in a conference would be that you don’t get to play some of those all-over-the-place games.”