The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

January 31, 2013

School sports mergers get boost from state

By Mike Wertman
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — Over the past two years declining participation numbers have caused a number of local mergers in high school sports programs including Barker and Roy-Hart in football and Medina and Lyndonville in boys varsity soccer and football.

Under state regulations that were in place until this week those mergers forced the schools to both use their full combined enrollments when determining classification for sectional and state level competition. That situation caused both the Barker/RoyHart football and Medina/Lyndonville boys varsity soccer teams to be placed up a classification to Class A.

However, on Tuesday the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Exective Committee voted to amend that regulation. Now the merged schools will take the full enrollment of the larger school but only a percentage of the second school when figuring classification.

That change will have enable the Medina/Lyndonville soccer squad to compete in Class B instead of Class A this coming fall.

Medina, a Class B with a grade 9-11 enrollment of 406 for 2013-2014 will add only 20 percent of Class D Lyndonville’s enrollment (164 this year) allowing the combined team to compete in Class B for the sectionals.

“It’s great for us. It looks like it will bring us back to Class B for soccer” Medina Athletic Director Chris Hughes said. “It is a smart decision by the state and makes it a little more realistic for the schools. It will especially help smaller schools who are trying to save their programs through mergers.”

“It is very important for us,” agreed Lyndonville Athletic Director Lee Dillenbeck. “It is a decision that I feel is really in the best interest of the kids. It puts the programs that merge on par and makes it more competitive.”

Likewise, Roy-Hart’s Class C enrollment of 353 will add only 20 percent of Barker’s Class D enrollment of 232 allowing the combined team to compete in either Class B or C depending on how the final football numbers are figured. Right now the combined enrollment of 399 is right at the borderline between Class C (260-399) and Class B (400-549).

Most importantly for the Barker/Roy-Hart squad it will allow the team to compete in the sectionals which it could not do this past fall as it played in the Class B Division despite being a Class A by combined enrollment. That decision to play in Class B and not A prevented the team from being eligible for the sectionals.

“It’s a better fit for us,” said Barker Athletic Director Dave Carson of the decision which will allow Barker/Roy-Hart football to compete in B or C and not in A. “It’s absolutely a positive thing for us. Now the kids can go into the season knowing they can compete for a sectional spot which they couldn’t do this past fall. It’s something we can play for.”

Because state classification numbers for football are different than for some other sports the Medina/Lyndonville football squad was a Class B classified squad this past fall even though full enrollments of the two schools were used. The state enrollment numbers for Class B in football are 400-599 and for boys soccer for example are 305-524.

Section VI football executive committee is scheduled to meet this week to review the 2013-14 classification numbers so football divisional alignments can be made.