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Carbon district may restrict number of sport competitions

Carbon tennis players look on during a home contest. The district is now considering dropping the number of games in a given season.

Sun Advocate publisher

Carbon School District may, in the near future, restrict the number of competitions that athletic and other school teams compete in each year, more than the officials have done in the past.

On top of that there may be some changes in the way athletics are pursued by the school district as well, with travel arrangements changing considerably.

Those issues arose during the Carbon School District board meeting on Sept. 10, when board member Barry Deeter who is on one of the Utah High School Activities Association board that looks at such matters, reported to other school district board members on a recent meeting.

"The UHSAA board has not voted to reduce the number of competitions presently allowed yet," said Deeter. "But they are looking at it. During the board meeting I recently attended it seemed there were only a couple of people who were opposed to making the restrictions tighter."

Deeter said that the UHSAA board decided to let members talk to coaches and administrators and get some input before voting on it, possibly next month.

But Deeter also said that a number of districts have already lowered the number of athletic competitions their students are involved in, and that Carbon could do that unilaterally if they wished.

The issues are complex when it comes to these kinds of decisions, but based on current economic circumstances and the fact that schools need to keep kids in class as much as possible to meet state and federal educational requirements, those reasons seem to be enough to sway many educators and boards across the state.

In another meeting on Aug. 8 the superintendents of schools from the 1A, 2A, and 3A ranks agreed in principle to reduce the number of UHSAA competitions in those classifications. There is currently a proposal before the 4A and 5A superintendents to reduce their numbers also. Some regions of the state have both 3A and 4A schools in their competition areas and the 3A superintendents agreed not to go with the restrictions if the 4A schools in their regions didn't agree to the same restrictions. The 1A and 2A superintendents decided, regardless of what the other classifications do, they would want to enact the restrictions in their areas.

In some major sports the reduction in the number of games or contests could be over 18 percent. For instance baseball and softball would go from a maximum of 22 games per season down to 18 (18.8 percent reduction) while basketball could be reduced by 10 percent (from 20 to 18 games). Football would see no reduction (the current top number of games a team can play in a season is nine and it would remain that way).

School districts are also looking at other ways to save time and costs. Some are contemplating slating competitions together, somewhat like the junior highs in the Castle Valley Athletic Association do. For instance when Mont Harmon goes to Helper to play football, the girls volleyball team also goes and plays at Helper the same day. Doing that and having teams ride on a bus together would eliminate a lot of extra trips, which would be more economical in this day of high diesel fuel costs.

"Currently these are all just proposals at UHSAA meetings, but I think the vote will come up fast and I think there will be some changes," said Deeter.

Deeter said that support for the changes was almost unanimous except for some in the 4A and 5A ranks, which generally play schools much closer to each other than the smaller schools do, thus their costs are lower.

Regardless of what the UHSAA does, the discussions at the Carbon School District board level will continue concerning the situation, and some decisions from the board may also be forthcoming as well.

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