Union, Cove football co-op OK'd by Union School Board

Written by Dick Mason December 12, 2013 07:11 am

Union and Cove high schools will likely be one on the football field next fall.

The Union School Board agreed Wednesday to have Union High School form a football co-op with Cove High School. The Union School Board voted 4-0 in support of the proposed co-op with Cove.

"I'm tickled. It is just good for the kids. Lets do it,'' said Union School Board member Mark Wing.

Union School Board member Tim Rynearson, has a similar sentiment.

"I see it as an opportunity to do something which is mutually beneficial for the kids (at UHS and CHS),'' Rynearson said.

The UHS football players and the UHS staff were surveyed earlier and everyone voiced support for the proposed move, said Union School District Superintendent Carter Wells.

The proposed football co-op now must be approved by the Cove School Board, the Wapiti League and the Oregon School Activities Association before it is official.

The board voted to create the co-op at the request of  Cove School District. Cove officials made their request after the Oregon School Activities Association boosted CHS from the Class 1A level to the 11-man Class 2A level beginning with the  2014  season.

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, faced the prospect of regularly playing 2A school almost twice its size. This prompted concerns about the safety of players. This concern was expressed repeatedly by Cove community members, said Cove School District Superintendent Bruce Neil.

Cove officials considered two options to address this issue. One was to leave the class 2A Wapiti League CHS 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 formation of a co-op with Union was the second option.

A Cove-Union co-op team would still play at the 2A level since the combined enrollment of the schools would be at or just below the 190 Class 2A limit according to OSAA calculations. 

See more in Friday's edition of The Observer.