Board of Control to discuss shrinking schedules
The Colorado High School Activities Association isn’t exempt to making changes during a down economy.
During Thursday’s Board of Control meeting in Aurora, the CHSAA executive committee will propose a 10 percent reduction in the number of contests for 16 sports, ranging from basketball to ice hockey.
Grand Junction Athletic Director Greg King, a member of the Board of Control, the proposal is the hottest topic at this spring’s meeting.
“It’s about 50-50,” King said. “It’s really being pushed by superintendents as a way to cut budgets, and I think it has a shot.”
An explanation of the proposal on the CHSAA Web site said the regular season is the most costly part of athletic budgets, and it makes sense to cut expenses in that area.
District 51 Athletic Director Paul Cain is also on the Board of Control and said cutting games locally might not be the solution.
“If we cut some of our travel, some of our trips to Denver, that will save more money than just cutting games,” Cain said. “It’s mixed emotions by everyone. In fact, I did a little informal survey of 12 school districts, and wouldn’t you know, six were in favor and six were against it.”
Although the proposal will affect most sports, it would cut into an already short baseball season. If it passes, the baseball season would be shortened from 19 regular-season games to 17 games.
“It’s embarrassing to have a 17-game season,” Grand Junction coach Kyle Rush said. “I think we need to increase games and find a way to be able to play 23-25 games, and get something out of spring baseball.”
The regular-season games aren’t the only contests in jeopardy of being cut. Cain is the basketball chair and is involved closely with a potential cut in Class 4A playoff games. There is a recommended decrease of 4A qualifiers from 48 to 32.
“In those first-round games there was a lot of travel involved, and they weren’t very competitive games,” Cain said.
“So as a committee we felt that with what’s going on across the state as far as budget cuts, we felt the thing to do was cut some of those games and save some travel money and make more quality games.”
A proposal that directly affects the District 51 high schools is a shift in the softball postseason.
The proposal calls for Class 4A Southwestern League teams (Montrose, Durango, Montezuma-Cortez) playing Western Slope League teams Palisade, Delta and Eagle Valley twice, with the top three earning bids to the postseason.
In Class 5A, the SWL has only one guaranteed playoff berth, so it has proposed cutting two qualifiers from other leagues and creating three at-large bids.
In 2009, the SWL had a final four team (Central) an elite eight team (Fruita Monument) and a team one win away from the elite eight (Grand Junction).
“We lost a qualifier when Durango went to 4A,” King said. “We had a strong year, and it looks like it could be strong again, but in the current system we’d only have one automatically in.”