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March 7, 2013

CV-S says no to football

Patriots may not be able to field varsity softball team

By Michelle Miller
Cooperstown Crier

---- — CHERRY VALLEY

The Cherry Valley-Springfield Board of Education voted 7-to-0 against a combining contract that would allow students to participate on the Cooperstown Central School varsity and modified football teams during the 2013-14 season.

The unanimous decision was made after hearing a presentation from CV-S athletic director Tom Brigham. He said a survey was given to students to determine how many would be interested in playing — there were two athletes interested in playing at the varsity level and 12 at the modified level.

Brigham said he was approached about the idea because, with declining enrollment, CCS is having a hard time getting enough players to keep its program.

“As an athletic director I want to try to get as many students as I can involved in sports,” Brigham said during his presentation last Thursday night. 

According to Brigham, CV-S had 44 boys tryout to play varsity and modified soccer in the fall. Only one student who played soccer last year showed interest in playing football instead, he added. 

Brigham said 30 students went out for varsity soccer, and some had to be cut or played modified to keep the number to 25, which he said was still not ideal.

The athletic director said he talked to the varsity boys soccer coach, Teri Adams, who indicated she did not foresee it having much of an impact on fielding her team. Brigham said he was not concerned about having students playing the “unfamiliar” sport, because it was not really that unfamiliar since many of the district’s students played youth football in Richfield Springs.

Board member Kathleen Taylor said she feels football is too dangerous because of brain injuries and concussions.   

There would have been concussion measures taken, according to Brigham. He said both schools participate in the same impact testing. The online testing provides computerized neurocognitive assessment tools and services that are used by medical doctors, psychologists, athletic trainers and other licensed healthcare professionals to evaluate concussions.

“A lot of football players get concussions, but it is still proven that more kids who play soccer get more concussions than those who play football,” Brigham said.

There was discussion about whether students would have to miss any classes. Brigham said there was a chance of that, but most games are held on Saturdays and he was told students would not have to leave until 2:30 p.m. for practices.   

If the contract were approved, the Cooperstown team would have remained in Class D. With the estimated number of students interested in playing, Brigham said the school’s expenses for participation would have been less than $2,400 ($219 per player on varsity and $165 per player on modified). That did not include transportation costs. 

The potential merger was approved, 7-0, by the Cooperstown Board of Education on Feb. 6.

In other business:

Brigham said CV-S will probably not be able to field a varsity softball team this season. He said there is the possibility of merging with another school district in the future, but it is too late for this year. A merger would have to be done at least two months in advance, according to Brigham.

The athletic director said four of the other 10 teams in the Tri-Valley League are struggling to keep their varsity softball teams. As of Thursday night, nine girls had signed up to play softball at CV-S, but Brigham said three had decided to run track instead. He said nine girls were expected to join the modified team. 

“I do not think any of those girls will pass the physical fitness test to be able to move up,” Brigham said.

One of the players who signed up for varsity softball will be allowed to play on modified if she chooses because she is a ninth-grader, according to Brigham. 

Track numbers are high at CV-S. According to Brigham, 35 girls and 31 boys are signed up for varsity. Twenty-five students are expected to participate in modified track.