CINCINNATI -- Archbishop Moeller High School and Robert A. Taft IT High School didn't play their scheduled season opener on Friday night.
The game was postponed, Moeller's spokeswoman said, over concerns of a Black Lives Matter rally planned for the same night at Cincinnati Police's District 1 headquarters.
"Archbishop Moeller will always put the safety of our students and their families first," said Teresa Meyer, director of communication for Moeller. "Both parties (Moeller and Taft) agreed that postponing the game would be in best interest."
But Taft's Athletic Director Don Newberry said the decision not to play was made entirely by Moeller.
"We got the call from Moeller on Thanksgiving night, so there wasn't much notice. We had kids and parents who were out of town for the holiday that were on their way back in just to play in the game," Newberry said. "Our kids were ready to play. And I assume that the Moeller kids were ready to play, too."
Newberry called the cancelation "unfortunate," as the CPS school had spent vacation days preparing for the game, cleaning the school and stocking concessions.
"We only schedule certain games that we know will generate enough revenue for us. Financially, many of our programs are hard off," he said. "We were hoping, with the Moeller game, that a lot of good things would happen with the gate revenue. Obviously, it didn't."
Meyer said the decision was made after Moeller "conferred with Cincinnati Police Department and were told a potentially large gathering could take place at the District 1 headquarters" and, with that, "we chose to postpone the game."
Earlier this school year, gun violence in Cincinnati's West End led to a high school football game being moved from Taft to Woodward High School. Taft successfully hosted their senior night football game the following night.
"Everybody has a right to protest, and we want to protect their rights as well as the general public," police spokesman Lt. Steve Saunders said on Friday prior to the protest.
Some WCPO viewers and readers said they showed up at the game on Friday at Taft High School and had not heard of the game's cancelation.
"There wasn't a whole lot we could do to get the word out inside of 24 hours. We tried to update our website, called players and parents, hoped that it would get around by word of mouth," Newberry said.
Moeller removed the game from the basketball schedule on its website sometime before 8 a.m. on Saturday morning.
The game has not yet been rescheduled. Newberry said he's not sure if the game will be rescheduled.
"We're going to have a conversation about this first," he said. "As of right now, I can't really speak to the future."