Graettinger-Terril: No Opposition To Football Sharing Proposal
GRAETTINGER A public meeting to gauge interest in sharing football drew no negative comments Thursday night in Graettinger. Around two-dozen guests were present during the special meeting of the Graettinger-Terril Community School Board to discuss the possibility of sharing football with the neighboring Ruthven-Ayrshire school district.
“This is a public meeting on football sharing with Ruthven-Ayrshire,” explained Graettinger-Terril Board President Kyle Norris, before turning the floor over to GT Principal Jesse Ulrich.
“Basically, we are at this point after Ruthven-Ayrshire had to forfeit their season, and they immediately began to talk to surrounding school districts, Emmetsburg, Laurens-Marathon and Graettinger-Terril, about the possibility of sharing football,” Ulrich explained. “Ruthven-Ayrshire surveyed their kids, who narrowed their ideas on sharing down to us and Emmetsburg.”
Ruthven-Ayrshire Principal and Athletic Director Jon Josephson, who was in attendance along with RA Superintendant Dr. Noreen Bunt and Board members Susan Sikora and Tracy Enderson, agreed with Ulrich’s assessment of the situation.
“After we were approached by Ruthven-Ayrshire, we as a board began talking about expanding our current sharing agreements to include football, and that is where we are at now,” Ulrich concluded.
Currently, Graettinger-Terril and Ruthven-Ayrshire are sharing baseball, boys and girls track and golf, and will be sharing wrestling and boys and girls basketball in the upcoming season. The only sports not shared are softball, volleyball and football.
Ulrich explained that under the sharing proposal, the team name would be the Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire Knights. Half of the scheduled home games would be played in Graettinger and half in Ruthven. Practice locations would have to be worked out, but a thought was to alternate by the year, one year in Graettinger and one year in Ruthven.
“The concerns over mascots and colors from both districts are the same,” Ulrich noted, “and we are very cognizant of those concerns, but feel they can be worked out to preserve the identities of both schools.”
A question was asked regarding the practice location. “In other sports, practices are up to the coaches’ discretion,” noted Norris. “We would look at the alternating idea, because it just wouldn’t be practical to load up all the pads and such each week and drag them back and forth.”
The question of sharing at the junior high school level was raised to Ulrich. “I looked at both of our numbers and we’re each hurting for numbers at the junior high level. I don’t think we could field two teams by our selves. We would certainly like to see the sharing include the junior high level as well as high school.”
“What are we looking at for combined numbers?” asked Danny Hoffman of Graettinger.
“In grades 9-12, we would be looking at a team of 35 to 40 kids,” Ulrich answered. “But, those numbers can always change. For instance, we have more girls out for basketball this Fall than we had expected.”
“We would also still be an eight-man team,” Norris added. “That’s a confirmed fact.”
Ulrich shared that in a survey of GT football players, 85 percent favored sharing football with Ruthven-Ayrshire. That broke down to 17 of 20 players in favor of the idea and three not interested in sharing.
Comments from the floor supported the idea, noting that the students already know each other from sharing baseball and track and that sharing would help develop athletes at a younger level in the future.
“I’m encouraged by the comments,” Norris told the group. “I think the board is also encouraged about this, too. We will meet on Monday, Nov. 21 to make a final decision.”
“I haven’t heard anything negative about this at all,” noted Graettinger resident Wade Alesch, as the meeting concluded.