By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News
The Panther football team may be adding a few new players next year as Danville Community School District has asked for their students to play with Mt. Pleasant.
Scot Lamm, athletic director for the Mt. Pleasant Community School District, told the school board Monday night that he had received a cooperative agreement from the neighboring school district. Lamm said two years ago Danville had a football program, but since then they have been unable to field enough players, forcing them to join with other teams.
Last year, 16 Danville students played as part of West Burlington-Notre Dame. However, the Iowa High School Athletic Association has decreased the number of teams per class. Class 4A football will be made up of 42 teams instead of 48. Class 3A, which Mt. Pleasant participates in, went from 56 to 54 teams. ?What that means is West Burlington-Notre Dame-Danville would be a 3A school. But if West Burlington-Notre Dame would drop Danville, they would become a 2A school, which is where they would like to participate,? explained Lamm.
Lamm said 8-man football is not an option for Danville because they have too many students enrolled in the district.
Lamm assured the board that whether the district allowed Danville students to join the team Mt. Pleasant would remain a 3A school. ?For the next two years we will be 3A regardless of what we do,? he said, indicating he had spoken with an executive within the state athletic association.
The advantages to allowing Danville kids onto the Panther team, Lamm said, would be the numbers. Since 2009, the district has been tracking the number of students going out for football since middle school. Of those who began playing in seventh grade, only 45 percent of the kids are still on the team their senior year. ?This is not just happening in Mt. Pleasant, everyone?s numbers are changing.? The agreement would be for grades seven through 12.
Lamm indicated head coach Shawn Striegel had some concerns with team chemistry. Board member Karl Braun inquired how the students would be transported to Mt. Pleasant for practices and games as well as if Danville had offered any financial assistance.
Lamm said he would meet with representatives from Danville to hammer out some details on a possible sharing agreement. The agreement, if approved, would be something the district could evaluate each year. The district currently has a sharing agreement with Danville for bowling.
A decision would have to be made before Dec. 4, which is when the athletic association meets.
Several board members indicated they would like to hear the public?s option on the issue as well as any questions they may have. Lamm said he?s sure one of the first questions will be if Danville students will start in front of Mt. Pleasant kids. ?I think that?s the first thing you?ll hear from parents,? said Lamm. ?If we look at it that way, we?re looking at it wrong. If they?re playing for Mt. Pleasant then to me they?re a Mt. Pleasant football player.?
A public hearing will be held on Monday, Nov. 27, at 6 p.m., before the board?s work session.