Prairie View board cuts the no-cut policy on school sports


The successful Prairie View softball program is a magnet for student athletes. This year the program drew more than three full teams of players, but the school had trouble finding games for its C team. (Journal file photo)


LA CYGNE – Students wanting to participate in sports in the Prairie View school district may no longer automatically be accepted on the team.


On Monday, the Prairie View USD 362 school board on a 4-3 split vote approved a change in the high school student handbook that gave coaches and sponsors of other activities the option of limiting team size.


The new language indicates a change in policy for the district. Prior to Monday’s vote the district had a no-cut policy. Proponents of the policy said they believed the district should allow students to be on teams regardless of team size. They also argued that participation by students who may not be top athletes as freshmen could lead to those same athletes being capable teammates by the time they were upperclassmen.


Those who favored changing the policy worried that team sizes could become so unmanageable that it would not give all students a quality experience. They pointed to difficulty in hiring enough coaches for large teams would be an issue.


The language approved for the 2022-23 student handbook reads, “Prairie View High school will create teams at multiple levels to ensure opportunities to participate at the appropriate skill level. In the event it becomes necessary to limit team size due to the lack of opponents, lack of officials, or facilities, coaches may limit the number of players on their team.”


At the board’s May meeting, Mark Hough, high school activities director outlined some of the problems the school was facing in programs that had too many students participating. He said it was often difficult enough to find officials to cover varsity and junior varsity games.


And while Prairie View might have enough students for a C team in some sports, many other schools in the league were not fielding those third-tier teams any more.


At last month’s meeting board members Brad Heide and Wade Teagarden were adamant that the coaches have the opportunity to limit the size of teams if necessary, and they got the support of board member Maggie Peterson. Brian Uphoff, Brad Stainbrook and Russell Pope were convinced that the district policy remain a no-cut policy. With board member Rita Boydston absent, neither side could pass a resolution.


However, with the full seven board members in attendance on Monday, Boydston said, “The coaches need to have the capability to decide what’s best for the team.”


Moments later, Boydston cast the deciding vote to eliminate the no-cut policy from the handbook.

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