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Safety a concern for school district
OSAA’s football reclassification has Cove concerned
Safety is far more important than wins and losses.
That’s the message that keeps coming back to Cove School District officials as they take public input on how they should address Cove High School’s changing football status.
“It is becoming clear that safety is a huge concern, not wins and losses,” said Cove School District Superintendent Bruce Neil.
Safety is a concern that has been raised after the Oregon School Activities Association moved Cove from the Class 1A level to the 11-man Class 2A level beginning with the 2014-15 school year.
The decision, made in October, means Cove will be one of the smallest high schools in the state at the 2A level next fall.
Cove, which has about 98 students, faces the prospect of regularly playing 2A schools almost twice its size.
“At best we will have 22 players out, 13 of whom will be freshmen and sophomores,” Neil said. “We will have freshmen and sophomores in on every play.”
To address this issue the Cove School Board is considering two options.
The first option under consideration is to leave the Class 2A Wapiti League the school has been assigned to and play 8-man football as an independent, allowing Cove to play more schools in its size category. Cove has been playing 8-man football since about the 1960s.
The biggest drawbacks to being an independent are that Cove would not be eligible for the state playoffs and players would receive less recognition since they would not qualify for all-league honors, Neil said.
The second option is to form a co-op team with Union High School, which is only about 8 miles away. A Cove-Union co-op team could still play at the 2A level since the combined enrollment of the schools would be at or just below the 190 limit.
Neil said the Union School District is now studying the possibility of a co-op and is collecting input from the community to see how it would feel about the move.
The Cove School District is also continuing to gather community input on the football issue. Input was taken at public meetings Monday and Tuesday. Each of the meetings was attended by between 20 and 25 people.