Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

March 7, 2013

Blindsided by CV-S vote

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — As we all know, school districts are facing financial insolvency and are being forced to reconsider the ways they do business. That includes mergers when fielding athletic teams.

The unanimous decision by Cherry-Valley Springfield board members not to allow students to join the Cooperstown Central School football program came as a shocker. And based on the look on CV-S’ Superintendent Robert Miller, who proposed the idea to the board, it came as a surprise to him as well.

The board voted against the combining contract between the two school districts for varsity and modified football athletic competition during the 2013-14 season after hearing a presentation from CV-S athletic director Tom Brigham.

Only one board member, Kathleen Taylor, gave reason why she felt a merged football program was a bad idea. She said she felt the sport is too dangerous.

Interesting. We might have expected someone to say it was too expensive, that there was not enough interest or that there was concern about pulling students out of classes (which was brought up by board member Hilary Lusk before the vote).

There would have been concussion measures taken, according to Brigham. He said both schools participate in the same impact testing.

If being too dangerous was the only reason for voting the merger down, we think parents should have been polled before a decision was made. However, we don’t really know the reasoning behind the vote — just that it was shocking it was unanimous. We credit Taylor for speaking out and giving her reason.

According to Brigham, CV-S had 44 boys tryout to play varsity and modified soccer in the fall. He said only one student who played soccer last year showed interest in playing football instead. Brigham said 30 students went out for varsity soccer, and some had to be cut or played on modified to keep the number to 25, which he said was still not ideal.

If the contract were approved, the team would have remained in Class D. With the estimated number of students interested in playing, based on a survey done at the school, 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.

Brigham said the survey showed that there were two students who wanted to play on varsity and 12 on modified. The athletic director said he talked to the varsity boys soccer coach, Teri Adams, and she said 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.” He said many of the district’s students played youth ball at Richfield Springs.

Another shocker that came from the board meeting was the likelihood that CV-S will not be able to field a varsity softball team this season. It is too late to merge with another school this season, but Brigham said it might have to be looked at in the future.

According to Brigham, five out of 10 teams (including CV-S) in the Tri-Valley League alone are in the same boat, sighting Franklin as one of them.