WACO will re-institute several sports if there are willing participants
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
CRAWFORDSVILLE — WACO will re-implement three boys’ and two girls’ sports if…
Yes, seemingly, there is always a “but” or “if” in any proposition.
WACO’s “if” includes a minimum participation rate.
The WACO School Board approved offering boys’ and girls’ cross-country and golf and boys’ baseball during the 2013-14 school year. The school district has shared baseball for a number of seasons, first with Winfield-Mt. Union and the current season with Washington. The district did offer cross-country and golf up until the 2012-13 school year until the past school year when it shared the sports with Washington.
During Monday night’s school board meeting in Crawfordsville, WACO Athletic Director Chad Edeker reminded the board that several factors led into the district discontinuing the sports. “Baseball was cut because of numbers and the other sports were cut because Mr. Coen (former Superintendent of Schools Pat Coen) told me I had to cut something (due to the district’s budget problems last year).”
Minimum numbers proposed by Edeker and accepted by the board were five high-school boys and/or girls combined for cross-country; five high-school boys and/or five high-school girls for golf; and 12 boys (eighth grade and above) for baseball.
The matter received considerable discussion as board members pondered whether reviving the sports justified the cash outlay. During the May school board meeting, Edeker said offering the sports could cost the school district around $20,700 in salaries, equipment, entry fees and transportation.
“I know we’re losing kids, but is it (offering the sports) worth $20,000,” questioned board member Todd Meyer.
“If we don’t offer the sports, it might cost us more than $20,000 (in students leaving the district),” answered director JoEllen Jepson.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darrell Smith supported offering the sports.
“We have kids who want to participate, and I think we should let them play,” Smith assessed. “If we don’t have enough to play, we will void the (coaching) contract. We should set a minimum to participate and if we don’t have that (minimum), we won’t field a team and void the contract.”
Edeker polled students prior to school dismissal in May. Five girls and one boy expressed an interest in running cross-country; four girls and four boys said they wanted to golf; and 13 were interested in baseball.
Baseball, Edeker said, would be played at the junior-varsity level next summer. “Only one of those kids will be a senior next year, the rest will be sophomores, freshmen and eighth graders. Throwing them into a varsity schedule isn’t fair…When you have to put freshmen on the diamond, your competitiveness lessens.”
It takes four golfers to score in the team standings whereas five cross-country runners are needed for the team standings.
Edeker said he thought there may be a couple of more golfers whom he did not talk to. “We have a couple of kids who played before and didn’t sign up and they might want to play again.”
The athletic director said the WACO baseball program may never be as robust (numbers-wise) as it was in the past, but he feels it could be sustained by numbers. “Are we ever going to get 25 kids out for baseball again. No, I don’t think that will happen, but we might get 12-15.”
Jarod Graber, a board member, asked whether dollars spent for offering the sports would take away money for education. He was assured it would not.
“I think offering them something here is a good thing,” noted board member Gary Brose.
Edeker said he was looking at scheduling 18-20 jayvee baseball games, around 9-10 golf matches and did not give a number for cross-country meets. Golfers, he said, would have to provide their own transportation to the course for practice. “It will be treated like any other sport, they will either have to drive (to the course)