Opp BOE talks multiple sports

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Opp Board of Education discussed recently changing its policy to allow students to play more than one sport in the same season.

Currently the policy says that students are allowed to be in two sports in the same season; however, athletes must be able to make all practices in each sport called by the coach.

The biggest issues in the discussion are cheerleading and volleyball and baseball and golf since those seasons run concurrently.

Opp City Schools Superintendent Michael Smithart said that the board and administrators had an obligation to the citizens of Opp to discuss the issue.

Smithart said the middle school level is often a time for students to try different sports.

The policy affects the high school.

“Understand there will be two or three families upset if we don’t allow it,” Smithart said.

Opp High School Athletic Director Brent Hill said that having athletes playing two different sports in a given season and trying to meet all the practices or asking coaches to schedule practices at alternative times is not being realistic.

“We have to raise the next generation to make choices,” he said. “I want my players at practice.”

Smithart said he agreed.

The question also arose of fairness for a student who goes to all the practices versus a student who skips one practice to go to band practice.

Smithart said that allowing multiple sports in one season doesn’t really allow athletes to give 100 percent effort to each sport.

He said that also potentially eliminates other athletes from playing a sport, where they could give 100 percent by playing only one sport.

Board member Dr. Lori Stanfield, whose daughter is a cheerleader, said she agreed a child would not be able to give 100 percent to multiple sports.

“I wouldn’t want to do it to my child,” she said. “Our cheer squad is respected and revered around the state.”

The OHS cheer squad has repetitively won the state championship or state runner-up in the last few years.

“If a girl is missing from cheerleader practice, there is a whole group who can’t work,” Smithart said.

The board took no action to change the policy.