USD 410 discusses allowing dual sports

“My first response as a parent—I can parent my child. I don’t need the school to,” said board member Jim Paulus when discussing dual sports at the monthly USD 410 board meeting on Monday, April 10.

Dual sports was the main topic of the meeting as board members and Superintendent Clint Corby discussed whether student-athletes could handle participating in more than one sport at a time.

Parent Erin Beavers came to speak to the board about the topic since she has an 8th grader who is passionate about two spring sports and will want to play them both in high school.

She said, “I just want to come this evening to advocate for dual sports. Both my husband and I came from schools that allowed dual sports and then seeing that it’s something that is not allowed here, it was like ‘what? Why is that something that is not allowed here?’ So I started digging around and talked to a few athletic directors to get some in and outs of why some schools would say yes and some would say no.”

Beavers did extensive research of other schools in and out of the county and said that the consensus from the schools that do allow dual sports is that they do not want to limit opportunities for student-athletes. She said many school reported that ‘if KSHSAA allows it, we are going to figure out a way to allow it as well’. Beavers also found that at most, it is 4-6 athletes and ones who wanted to do a team sport and an individual sport which makes it easier to practice one on their own time.

“The process for allowing it is so in-depth, the student-athlete has to take ownership of it all and commit to doing it including a set practice schedule, the parents have to commit, there needs to be a GPA requirement, the student should have to attend a board meeting and explain to the board why they want to participate in two sports at one time—the buy-in there means you are only gonna get students who are really serious about it and you aren’t going to have a lot of students who are going to do it,” said Beavers.

Beavers also pointed out that for many students, dual sports are already being done, just outside of the school. For example, many students run track for the school and then participate in club softball or baseball on the weekends. Allowing dual sports in the school would just benefit the school.

“It’s already being done. It’s just not being done as part of an accepted high school sport. I just think with the current size of our high school, it can only benefit both teams. So if you have a serious athlete that can contribute to both teams and a coach is willing to work with that, I really don’t see any drawback to allowing the athlete to do that,” said Beavers.

She offered all of her research to the board members to use for their decisions.

Corby stated that he had surveyed coaches about dual sports and found that 44% of coaches said yes to dual sports but with conditions with three of those who said individual sports only. 33% said no and some of the reasons given were because it creates team conflict and students miss too much school. 11% said yes with no conditions and one coach said it was a great opportunity to increase numbers for smaller-sized teams. The rest said maybe.

“I will clarify that not all coaches responded, but we did get most of the coaches,” Corby said.

Teachers who were polled were mixed as well. 53% said yes they would support it and 47% of teachers said no, they would not support dual sports. Corby reported that 56% of the league does dual sports but two of those say it is very rare as they have a very rigorous process for the students to be approved for it.

“I would like to know if there is some sort of academic minimum requirement for dual sport involvement?” asked board member Jesse Hiebert.

Corby reported that 2.0 was KSHSAA’s ruling but all seemed to agree that number was too low and should be higher.

Paulus stated that he had also done research and found that all of the schools that allowed dual sports also required agreements between the coaches, students and parents and he pointed out that none of it was taken lightly by any of the participants. He reiterated that parents, students and coaches would have to take it seriously and the students would have to work hard.

Paulus pointed out that a parent could determine if their child was up for the challenge to which Corby responded that it’s a lot if the entire day is filled with school activities.

“But that is what the agreements manage. It’s pretty detailed,” said Paulus. “I’m very much of the instead of saying a hard no, let’s maybe explore and see what the possibilities are. I think parents are really tired of us just always instantly saying no to things.”

Paulus also gave an example of a current student who currently wants to do swim and track. He pointed out that while she enjoys both she may be able to get more scholarships in both and having her only do one limits her options.

“I see both sides. One question I would have is that we have a hard time finding coaches right now. Does this put an extra burden on our coaches? I don’t want to put extra burdens on our coaches,” said board member Sara Wichert. “But I also think we have some coaches who want to put students first. We also don’t want to make coaches the bad guys.”

Board member Scott Winter stated it would need to be a privilege and not a right.

Another point discussed is that students are allowed to participate in the musical or spring play and in a sport so they should be allowed to participate in dual sports.

The board will continue to gather, share and hear information regarding the topic and decide in the future. No action was taken.

In other business, the board:

n learned that Tim Kaufman resigned his board position due to health reasons. He has served on the board since 2015 and will be recognized with a plaque or in some way in the future. Board President Jared Jost asked that the board keep Kaufman in their prayers. Kaufman’s position is now open so a resolution has been issued for the vacancy which authorizes the Board to fill vacancies not sooner than 15 days following a publication of notice in a newspaper.

  •  approved Janet Whisenhunt’s resignation from her position as Hillsboro Middle/High School Media Center Coordinator effective Aug. 4.
  •  approved Pati Funk’s resignation from her position as Junior class sponsor effective at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
  • agreed to hire Tammy Ollenburger to serve as USD 410 Summer Painter for 40 hours per week for up to 10 weeks beginning June 1 at her regular rate of pay.
  • agreed to hire Chris Teichler to serve as Hillsboro Middle School Instrumental Music Coordinator for $32.95 per hour through the end of the 2022 – 2023 school year.
  • approved the issuance of a contract to Kristin Kaufman to serve as Hillsboro Elementary School Title I teacher for the 2023-2024 school year.
  • approved the revision of Lynn Just’s teaching contract to include an additional $1,548 for high school instrumental music for the remainder of the 2022 – 2023 school year.
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