Talking sports

School committee discusses options for possible sports consolidation in district

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg A proposed motion for consideration by the Warren County School District Board of Directors would see four sports programs at Eisenhower Middle/High School and Youngsville High School merge. Among those programs would be baseball. Formal action may be taken on the motion as soon as May 14.

Big changes may be coming to high school athletics in the county.

The Warren County School District Board of Directors discussed potential consolidation of multiple county sports programs during Monday’s Personnel/Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities Committee Meeting.

The proposed motion for board consideration would see Eisenhower and Youngsville merge in four sports: cross country, baseball, softball, and wrestling. As written, Eisenhower would host the cross country, baseball, and softball teams, while Youngsville would host the wrestling team. The locations of each program are subject to change, according to the board.

These proposed changes for cross country and wrestling would take effect in the coming school year. Due to classification changes, baseball and softball would not begin until the 2020-2021 school year. Formal action could be taken on these mergers as soon as the next board meeting on May 14.

A document titled “Warren County Sports and Band Merger Proposals Model Overview” was posted on the school district website prior to Monday’s meeting. The document showed three different potential models: A, B, and C. Models A and C included multiple proposed county-wide teams, while Model B focused on geographically-based cooperative agreements between Eisenhower and Youngsville, and Warren and Sheffield.

“I feel like we don’t have much choice,” said board member Marcy Morgan. “I really dislike taking away opportunities from kids, but I don’t think everything should be at Warren, either.”

Monday’s discussion focused on Model B with modifications. Model B initially included a proposal that would dissolve Warren and Youngsville’s existing football co-op and pair Sheffield with Warren and Youngsville with Eisenhower.

“From the standpoint of the co-op that we already created last year between Youngsville and Warren, why wouldn’t we stick with that if Eisenhower and Sheffield have viable programs?” said board member Donna Zariczny.

“The students that have participated in the (Warren and Youngsville football) program spoke very highly of the opportunity that they had,” said Director of Administrative Support Services Gary Weber. “We had some logistic issues, but after getting past those issues I heard good things about it.”

No changes in football were ultimately included in the motion. The board also decided not to include Warren and Sheffield co-op agreements due to Sheffield’s existing agreements with Abraxas and Warren’s ability to stand on its own in all of the sports involved.

The original Model B proposed would save the district an estimated $98,624 over a two-year period, but an updated figure after modifications was not discussed at the meeting. Coaches for the new merged teams were also not discussed.

The mergers of these four programs would cause a pair of classification changes based on current PIAA numbers: Eisenhower/Youngsville baseball would move from 2A to 3A, and Eisenhower/Youngsville Softball would also move from 2A to 3A. Wrestling would stay at 2A, and cross country would stay at 1A.

The complete proposed motion is listed below:

Each high school and middle school will retain the following sports in each season:

Fall: Girls Volleyball and Girls Middle School Basketball

Winter: Girls and Boys Basketball (middle school boys JV and Varsity) and Girls Middle School Volleyball

Spring: Girls and Boys Track (Middle School/Varsity)

The following co-ops will continue, tennis can be added as a county wide co-op when there is interest from the other schools:

¯ Football- Warren and Youngsville, hosted by Warren. Sheffield and Abraxas, hosted by Sheffield.

¯ Swimming- hosted by Warren

¯ Golf- hosted by Warren

¯ Tennis- hosted by Warren

¯ Soccer- hosted by Warren and Eisenhower

New co-ops:

Cross Country: Eisenhower and Youngsville merge.

Softball: Eisenhower and Youngsville merge.

Baseball: Eisenhower and Youngsville merge.

Wrestling: Eisenhower and Youngsville merge.