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  • Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Prairie View board split on no-cut policy for athletic program

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

LA CYGNE –The question of whether or not to maintain a no-cut athletic policy in the Prairie View High School student handbook was not resolved on Monday night, May 9. With one of the members of the USD 362 Board of Education absent, neither those favoring keeping the policy or those wanting to eliminate the policy could get beyond a 3-3 tie in two separate votes.

Those board members wanting to keep the no-cut policy – Russell Pope, Brad Stainbrook and Brian Uphoff – contended that every student who wants to be involved in an activity should be allow to participate.

The three board members who wanted to strike the no-cut language – Wade Teagarden, Maggie Peterson, and Brad Heide – said they were more concerned that those who went out for a team would have a quality experience.

The latter group’s argument was fueled by information about lack of coaches, a shortage of referees and limited practice space for indoor sports from Activities Director Mark Hough. He also said that other schools in the Pioneer League are dropping their “C” teams, so it is difficult to schedule games.

The C teams are staffed by those players who don’t make the varsity or junior varsity teams.

Heide said he was concerned about what would happen to 45 students who went out for a sport like basketball. With the varsity team fielding 10 players and the junior varsity roster also having 10 players, what happens to the other 24 players, he asked.

It all boils down to having supervision for that many students, he added.

Hough said that there has been a problem recruiting teachers to be coaches. That problem is expected to grow next year, and he plans to start looking for Rule 10 coaches. Rule 10 coaches are those coaches who do not hold teaching certificates, but are hired by school districts when certified staff coaches are not available.

He pointed out that last year, one of the basketball programs needed to hire a fourth coach but couldn’t find anyone to fill the position.

Hough said that the other schools in the Pioneer League don’t have a written cut policy, however, the issue has come up in Burlington, Anderson County and Wellsville districts.

Superintendent Rex Bollinger said that early in his career he coached non-varsity players in before-school practice sessions. He said the experience helped him learn to be a good coach and it helped the players learn how to practice.

He also said that he coached a student who, in the beginning, couldn’t walk and dribble a basketball at the same time. That student went on to become a starter on the varsity team.

Uphoff was adamant that the no-cut policy remain in the handbook. “The no-cut policy needs to be in there. If it’s not, I’m not voting for it,” he said.

Stainbrook said he was concerned that eliminating the no-cut policy would favor a certain group of students. “It’s not just for the chosen kids, it’s for all the kids,” he said. “We should be here for all the kids.”

Pope said that the number of students out for athletics was a testament to the quality of the programs. He also said the district should facilitate the participation of students who want to be involved in school activities.

But Teagarden said he was in favor of eliminating the no-cut policy rather than have that hamstring the sports programs. He said he was also concerned that more students out for sports meant additional costs for coaches and transportation.

Newly appointed to the board, Peterson indicated she was hesitant to take a firm stance on the issue but she understood about not having enough coaches for the athletes.

Heide said his main concern was that students who were not performing at the varsity or junior varsity level were not getting a quality experience and would become frustrated by not getting playing time.

He said he would much prefer dealing with a parent who’s child got cut from the team than a parent that was angry because their student wasn’t getting to compete.

Uphoff asked if the board could approve everything but the athletic policy.

However, high school principal Joe Hornback said that wouldn’t be helpful because he needed to send the whole handbook off to the printers.

The board did approve the middle school student handbook, which eliminated the requirement that students pay $30 each year for an activity card that would allow them to attend games. That means students will be able to attend games without a charge.

The board is expected to also eliminate the activity fee for high school students once the no-cut policy issue is resolved.

In other business, the board approved changing the district calendar to make May 23 the final day for students and May 24 the final day for teachers.

The board approved hiring Laurie LaFollette-McCarthy as transportation director for the district. She replaces long-time director Phil Mathews, who announced his retirement.

The board also approved hiring Shauna Goff as assistant middle school volleyball coach, Jordan Coppersmith as assistant high school football and boys basketball coach, and Kara Speer as assistant high school volleyball and girls basketball coach.

They also approved the transfer of Walter Williams from a bus aide to a full-time bus driver.

The board approved resignations of bus driver Becky Inman, custodian Dennis Kelly, high school student council sponsor Megan Keltner, National Honor Society sponsor Pamela Dunlop and bus driver Julie Whitehead.

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