While the national economy has shown signs of life, many Colorado school districts still are dealing with severe budget constraints. So, for the second consecutive year, the Colorado High School Activities Association is trying to help its member schools deal with the issue.
Under a proposal that will be introduced Thursday at the CHSAA Board of Control meeting at the Red Lion Hotel-Denver Southeast, all sanctioned sports except football would see a 10 percent reduction in regular-season contests, if approved. The proposal is being offered by the governing body’s executive committee.
"The executive committee felt like it had to make that effort with what’s happening with school budgets," CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann said. "This proposal came from the (school) superintendents on the executive committee. (The committee) wanted to make a statement that CHSAA as an organization is sensitive to what’s happening with schools, and that’s an important component to this."
The 10 percent reduction was first introduced at the April BOC meeting last year, and the proposal was defeated resoundingly by the 67-member legislative body of the association. Several sports were voted on individually and none garnered more than 11 votes in support. When the remaining sports were voted on as a whole, the proposal failed 61-8.
The rationale for the proposal remains the same: cost savings for schools, while including athletics as part of the solution to help balance school budgets. CHSAA commissioner Bill Reader reasoned last year that the proposal failed because school districts already had the ability to reduce the number of contests. Borgmann echoed that sentiment, but added that some school districts would welcome official CHSAA action.
"The reality is that school districts could do this on their own, but it is a tough subject because no one wants to tell their coaches no, that they can’t schedule all the games CHSAA allows," Borgmann said.
Another sticking point for the proposal, according to Borgmann, could be the exclusion of football from the cuts.
"Honestly, there might be some equity issues with the proposal with football being excluded," he said. "For the most part the feeling is that football is paying its way, so it was left out of this."
The Florida High School Athletic Association passed a proposal last April that reduced varsity contests by 20 percent, excluding football. The FHSAA subsequently faced a court challenge based on Title IX gender equity issues, forcing it to rescind the cuts in July.
Other items of note that will be considered by the BOC:
In football, the Colorado Springs Metro League is proposing to remove the mandate in Class 5A that would give the higher-seeded team the home game throughout the playoffs. That proposal was passed at the BOC meeting in January. Also, the Jefferson County League is proposing that the 32-team 5A playoffs be selected and seeded by a committee of administrators, using a variety of criteria. In January, the BOC had approved using a wild-card points system to determine and seed playoff qualifiers.
In addition, the Class 4A basketball state tournament would be changed significantly under another proposal. The association’s basketball committee is recommending the tournament be trimmed from 48 to 32 teams. There would no longer be automatic qualifiers and the tournament would be true-seeded by a committee.
"The travel was atrocious for the first-round games," Borgmann said of the 4A tournament. "This is a way to look at cutting down expenses for that round, as well as improving the competitive balance of the 4A tournament overall. The basketball committee felt the tournament would maintain its integrity with 32 teams."
The CHSAA BOC meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. For more information, go to the CHSAA site.
Diamond notes: Make more room in the record books for the Eaton Reds. With a victory against Estes Park on Saturday, Eaton won its 45th consecutive game to tie the state record set by an earlier Reds (1998-99) team and Niwot, according to the Greeley Tribune. Eaton can set the record Thursday at Valley. ... Fort Collins (Fort Collins, Colo.) senior shortstop Dakota Holcomb has signed to play at Southern Illinois. Holcomb is batting .533 with a home run and six RBI for the Lambkins this season.
Top games this week (MaxPreps rankings): Class 5A – No. 3 Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.) at No. 10 Cherokee Trail (Aurora, Colo.) (Tuesday), No. 5 Ralston Valley (Arvada, Colo.) at No. 2 Green Mountain (Lakewood, Colo.) (Saturday). Class 4A – 5A No. 8 Heritage (Littleton, Colo.) at No. 9 Rock Canyon (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) (Friday), No. 4 Fort Morgan (Fort Morgan, Colo.) at No. 5 Silver Creek (Longmont, Colo.) (Saturday). Class 3A – No. 4 Holy Family (Broomfield, Colo.) at No. 2 Kent Denver (Englewood, Colo.) (Tuesday), No. 5 University (Greeley, Colo.) at Kent Denver (Wednesday), University at No. 10 Lyons (Lyons, Colo.) (Saturday), No. 7 Yuma (Yuma, Colo.) at No. 1 Eaton (Saturday), Holy Family at No. 2 Faith Christian (Arvada, Colo.) (Saturday).
Outside the box: The Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) girls team posted three impressive wins last week (Boulder/Centaurus, St. Mary’s Academy and ThunderRidge) behind the play of its standout trio of Callie Raymond, Megan McConaty and Bridget McGann. Their totals for the week: Raymond (nine goals, four assists), McConaty (6 G, 7 A) and McGann (8 G, 1 A). ... Monarch’s Tyler Thorson bolted to the top of the boys state leaderboard with 39 goals, scoring five each against Monarch and Thompson Valley last week.
Top girls games this week (MaxPreps rankings): No. 3 Air Academy (US Air Force Academy, Colo.) at No. 1 Denver East (Denver, Colo.) (Tuesday), No. 4 Kent Denver (Englewood, Colo.) at No. 6 Thompson Valley (Loveland, Colo.) (Friday), No. 10 Boulder/Centaurus (Boulder, Colo.) at No. 5 Columbine (Littleton, Colo.) (Saturday).
Top boys games this week (MaxPreps rankings): No. 1 Arapahoe at No. 9 Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) (Monday), No. 4 Chatfield (Littleton, Colo.) at No. 3 Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.) (Monday), No. 8 Fort Collins (Fort Collins, Colo.) at No. 7 Monarch (Louisville, Colo.) (Tuesday). No. 6 Kent Denver (Englewood, Colo.) at No. 2 Colorado Academy (Denver, Colo.) (Thursday), Chatfield at No. 5 Mullen (Denver, Colo.) (Thursday).
On the pitch: Vail Christian (Edwards, Colo.)’s McKenzie O’Brien scored three goals in a 5-3 win against Grand Valley on April 8. According to the Vail Daily, O’Brien’s hat trick was the first in the three-year history of the Saints’ program. ... Pueblo South (Pueblo, Colo.)’s Amanda Garcia posted three goals in a 4-0 win against Canon City on April 6 and followed that with a goal and three assists two days later in a victory against Pueblo East. The senior has 10 goals and 11 assists for the Colts.
Top games this week (Denver Post rankings): Class 5A – No. 7 Rocky Mountain (Fort Collins, Colo.) at No. 5 Fairview (Boulder, Colo.) (Thursday), No. 3 Arapahoe at No. 4 Air Academy (US Air Force Academy, Colo.) (Saturday). Class 4A – No. 8 D'Evelyn (Denver, Colo.) at No. 7 Golden (Golden, Colo.) (Monday), No. 1 Wheat Ridge (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) at D’Evelyn (Friday). Class 3A – No. 5 Holy Family (Broomfield, Colo.) at No. 9 Colorado Academy (Denver, Colo.) (Monday), No. 2 Faith Christian (Arvada, Colo.) at No. 6 St. Mary's (Colorado Springs, Colo.) (Tuesday), No. 4 Manitou Springs (Manitou Springs, Colo.) at No. 1 Classical Academy (Colorado Springs, Colo.) (Thursday), No. 8 Coal Ridge (New Castle, Colo.) at No. 10 Basalt (Basalt, Colo.) (Friday), No. 3 Kent Denver at St. Mary’s (Saturday).
An unexpected resignation has forced Fossil Ridge (Fort Collins) to again begin the process of hiring a head football coach. Chad DeGrenier was chosen in February to take over the SaberCats program, to replace former coach Clint Fick. DeGrenier, though, now will remain the head coach at Cactus Shadows in Arizona, where he has been a coach the past six years. "I think it had to do with some personal and family issues that he just had to take care of," Fossil Ridge athletic director Ken Denning told the Fort Collins Coloradoan. "I feel bad for our young men because I think they really liked him."
Chatfield (Littleton) softball coach Sophia Rodriguez has resigned after leading the Chargers the past four years.
Nominations for the Fred Steinmark High School Athlete of the Year Award are due by May 1. The Steinmark Award recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and citizenship. For information go to the Colorado High School Coaches Association’s Web site or e-mail Scott Stocker at email@example.com.
Gerry Valerio is the former high school sports editor of the Rocky Mountain News and has covered preps for more than 20 years. Send news and notes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow Valerio on Twitter for Colorado high school sports updates.