By Wednesday, the Frontier League hopes to know who’s in and who’s out.
With the fall season for low- and moderate-risk sports allowed to begin Monday, local school districts need to decide whether they’ll be participating in fall sports and in what capacity.
Scott Connell, assistant director of the Frontier League, and the rest of the Frontier League executive committee met with all member superintendents Monday morning in hopes of finding out what schools will be participating — so the league can move forward with determining a schedule and divisional alignments.
Districts were not comfortable making that decision yet.
“A lot of schools haven’t had the time to communicate with all of the stakeholders involved,” Connell said. “The board of education, coaches, just didn’t have enough time to come up with a clear ‘yes we want to play’ or ‘no, we don’t.’”
Carthage superintendent Jennifer Premo told the Times on Monday night that the Comets plan to play low- and moderate-risk sports this fall beginning in late September. Sept. 28 is a possible date for their first day of practice.
While some districts responded to Section 3’s poll with a request to delay the fall sports season for low- and moderate-risk sports until after Jan. 1, they are now rethinking their stance given the section’s decision to move ahead with Monday start date.
“At the section level, we initially voted to delay the return until after January 1st after much deliberation and discussion with various stakeholders in my district,” Jen Gaffney, superintendent of Sackets Harbor, said in an e-mail to the Times. “I certainly considered all of the mixed feedback I received and submitted the vote on the basis of what I felt was the safest and most reflective of the district’s overall actions and efforts at this time. “However, given the recent Section 3 vote to move forward, I will be meeting with my school board (tonight) to discuss if and/or how we can move forward to make it work.”
While the Frontier League hopes to hear from its member districts by Wednesday, it’s not a firm deadline.
Superintendents may request more time to speak with those in their district. The Frontier League wants school districts to make decisions that they’re comfortable with.
“It was a consensus that we don’t want to dive into this, we want to make sure everybody is comfortable with their decision,” said Connell, also the superintendent of schools at Copenhagen. “We can’t start until the 21st anyway and that’s the earliest, we may not start that date. I don’t know. But we just want to make sure we get it right and that each school feels comfortable with their decision.”
Connell added the season could begin later for Frontier League schools. It is possible that games for Frontier League schools can begin Oct. 9, but that is still only a possibility and not a firm decision.
The league wants to allow enough time for each participating school to get in its required practices.
“Some of the other issues that we run into is that you have to have 10 practices and not all of the schools are going to school five days a week, so they may have more of an issue of getting 10 practices in,” Connell said. “So pushing that date out to later October gives all of those schools a chance to give all of their kids 10 practices.”
By week’s end, the Frontier League will hopefully have an idea of which of its member schools will be participating in athletics this fall. Depending on what schools participate, the Frontier League may need to rework its divisions.
Connell outlined what that could look like if hypothetically eight schools decided to play.
“We’ll take those eight schools and decide how those divisions split up the best,” Connell said. “We could do it regionally to try to keep people close so it’s not a busing issue or by size of school.”
Connell said it could also be based off of the start date, citing that not every school may want to start right away.
“Once we see who’s actually playing, then we can build a schedule around what works for the teams who are interested in playing,” Connell said.
The Frontier League will not hold another official meeting with its member superintendents Wednesday. It is the hope that districts will inform the league of their decision by some point in that day.