(LYONS) - The efforts of White River Valley Community Football League supporters to have football added as a sanctioned sport at White River Valley Junior-Senior High School was thrown for a loss on Thursday night.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World reports, by a 5-2 vote, a proposal to start a high school level football program was defeated.
Supt. Layton Wall told the gathering that the board had considered the proposal originally submitted by youth league officials in January and was ready to bring it to a vote.
According to an agenda published on the WRV school website, the board discussed the football proposal during a 90-minute executive session that was conducted prior to the regular open meeting.
Board member Mark Downey, of Worthington, made the motion and was joined board member Charles Records in support of starting the gridiron program.
Board members Andrew Graves, Roger Weaver, Jason Davidson, Glenn Cundiff and Roger Shake voted against the proposal.
Prior to making the motion, Downey addressed the board and about 30-plus football program supporters by saying, "They (the football league) gave us a presentation and it was a very good presentation. They had done their homework. They were going to foot the bill for the start-up cost of the football program. They were going to take ownership in a high school football program. I know there are a lot of kids who are interested in playing football and we've had kids go and play football someplace else."
Downey then made the motion and drew a round of applause from many who attended the meeting.
However, the good cheer was short-lived when the final vote was cast and only two affirmative votes were registered in a show of hands.
Downey followed with a second motion to allow the youth league to move their home games from the WRV Worthington Elementary School field to the high school track and field complex on the WRV campus in Switz City.
"Would it be feasible for them to play here -inside the track - and put up goal posts. I know they (the league) has said that work would be donated for this," Downey said. "There are more (spectator) stands. There is more visibility (from State Road 54)."
That motion died for a lack of a second.
"I'd like to know more about that before I would vote on it," board member Andrew Graves said in pointing out that he'd like to know more about how the field would fit inside the track and how it would impact the use of the track.
After the meeting, Supt. Wall said money wasn't discussed when asked about the determining factor in the board's majority opposition to starting the football program.
"The board was just kind of split on what to do," he replied. "They really didn't state anything as far as deciding factor.
Downey admitted that 'football is a touchy subject' in the school district, but said moving the league's home field to the high school track area, would have been a good gesture, if the high school program was voted down.
"I thought a lot of Larry Catron and Larry started this football program a long time ago (about 30 years) and it's grown and grown. These kids got out there and they do represent WRV. If they didn't want to represent WRV they wouldn't put WRV Community Football League on their jerseys. I just think it would have been nice to put them out there," he said.
Downey said he doesn't have an idea of whether school is not already losing some students to neighboring schools at Owen Valley, North Daviess and Linton-Stockton that offer football programs.
But he said they might be.
"Football does cost money. My big thing was by IHSAA rules you have to play a JV (junior varsity) schedule for two years. It's just JV, but after two years I think you are going to have a pretty good gauge of what the interest is and where you can go from there," he said. "I love football and want to see as many kids in this school corporation be able to play as many different sports as there are out there. The band gets to play four or five times on Saturday afternoon or on Friday nights and the cheerleaders can cheer. It involves more than 30 or 35 (football) kids."
Downey pointed out in this day of tight school finances preserving what students that are already enrolled and trying to entice others to come in to the school district, offerings like football could make a difference.
"I hate to put a number on a kid, but when the state funding is $6,300 a kid it has to be considered. I would hate to see a kid to go just because of football...if 10 or 12 kids come in, that's $63,000 and that's the salary for two first-year teachers.,"
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