The North Bend Eagle


 

High schools considering summer sports season

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 10/23/13

If an idea being bandied among Nebraska’s Class C high schools in catches on, North Bend Central could one day be playing softball and baseball during the summer.

North Bend Central Athletic Director Tony Allgood addressed the NBCPS School Board of Education on the matter, which came up at a caucus meeting of Class C schools where athletic directors discussed the possibility of moving high school softball and baseball to a summer season. Softball is currently played in the fall season and baseball in the spring.

Some schools think the proposal could increase competitiveness in the sports. Right now, with volleyball and softball being played in the same season, many smaller schools don’t have the numbers to be competitive in both sports.
Allgood also said more schools are adding baseball in the spring, which competes with their track program.

Summer baseball in Nebraska is currently run primarily by the American Legion baseball program. Many Legion programs are having to combine with neighboring towns in order to get enough kids to field a team. For example, Dodge, Scribner, Snyder and Howells combine to field one Legion team in the summer.

The same thing is seen in high school baseball, where Pender, West Point-Beemer, Lyons-Decatur and Bancroft-Rosalie all co-op to form one Class B high school team.

The thought is that with a summer season where its athletes weren’t being split among numerous sports, more schools could sponsor their own teams without co-oping.

Allgood said that an advantage of summer softball would be that a larger number of girls could participate, allowing the school to possibly field a varsity, junior varsity and freshmen team. It would lead to a more competitive team, and the school-run team would have coaches experienced, trained and with background checks.

In the just-completed high school softball season, NBC had 16 girls on it team. With one or two exceptions, the entire roster played both varsity and JV games.

NBC currently does not sponsor a baseball team, but if baseball were moved from the spring to the summer, it would not compete with track and field and likely provide NBC with the numbers to field a team. School-sponsored summer baseball would follow the same rules and policies that student athletes follow during the academic year.

It was proposed that the softball and baseball schedule would run from May 4 through mid-July. Athletes who qualify for the state track meet would be able to join the baseball or softball after the state meet.

Allgood listed the disadvantages of the idea as adding staffing, transportation and custodial costs. He said it would almost certainly kill off Legion baseball as well.

Currently there are just two classes of high school baseball in Nebraska, with 29 teams in Class A baseball teams and 27 in Class B.

Allgood stressed that the concept of a summer high school sports season is still in the preliminary discussion stages. All schools in Nebraska have been sent a survey to get a better grasp of the way schools were leaning, and Allgood said he felt the majority of schools in East Husker Conference would respond positively to the survey. The results of survey will be discussed at the October 23 Class C caucus meeting.

In order to move forward and present an official proposal to the Nebraska Schools Activities Association, at least 40 schools have to be on board with the idea. Allgood said he thought reaching the threshold was a strong possibility.
Allgood said he doesn’t see Class A schools being for the change. It will have an impact on Class B as they will lose Class C teams who have co-oped to make a Class B team.

“What the caucus is asking is, ‘Are you interested?’” Allgood said. “I don’t think anyone can say that we are in it. I think to go forward (the NSAA) needs to know how many are seriously interested knowing that you have to incur these cost and you are locked into 25 games during this time period.”

Another issue brought up was summer camps for other sports. Allgood said baseball and softball would leave one day a week open without games or practices to allow other sports to participate in camps.

Allgood said if the idea is eventually approved, it would go into effect for the 2015-2016 school year at the earliest.

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