CADOTT, Wis. (WEAU) – Parents, staff and students got the rundown of what could happen for 2013 football season for Cadott and Cornell.
The meeting was held Thursday evening at Cadott High School where dozens of community members wanted to know what could happen for the football teams’ futures.
Cadott High School and Cornell High School’s football teams both had to cancel their varsity season in September because of a lack of participation and injuries.
But the season continued as the two schools combined their teams to form a co-op.
Now a proposal is being considered for a cooperative agreement for the 7-12 grade football programs. According to the proposal, “the two schools will commit to a four year cooperative agreement, which spans two cycles of the WIAA required time frame for cooperative agreements.”
“The numbers that we have in our program have declined, and because of that we weren't able to have a full season this year. We want to make sure we offer a safe and secure program for our students,” says Joe Zydowsky, superintendent of the Cadott School District. Zydowsky lead the discussion at Thursday night’s meeting.
There were arguments at the meeting against the co-op agreement. Some staff members and alumni mentioned much smaller schools that were able to still keep a varsity level football team at their high schools.
Cornell superintendent Dr. Paul Schley says although that’s true, there’s other factors to consider.
“The part they didn't talk about, they don't have JV teams, and they don't have freshman teams. Those are where you develop the students. You don’t want to have 110 pound students play against 250 pound seniors. It’s not safe and the safety of the game has to be taken into consideration,” says Schley.
Zydowsky says the coaches have already exhausted recruitment options.
“We could try to recruit some more athletes but our coach has already done that,” says Zydowsky. “We think with the enrollment that we have and the number of students interested, we're probably not going to have more students.”
Coach Perry Myren says although a co-op means getting a new mascot and new uniforms, it’s important to think about what the team wants.
“Overall scheme of things, I think you have to swallow your pride a little bit and do what’s best for the sport and for the community and the kids,” says Myren.
Myren says the co-op situation this year has worked well for both schools.
As for another option, Zydowsky says Cadott could cancel the varsity season and playing lower levels, but team members say that’s not really an option for them.
“It’s nice to have Cadott football by themselves but I think it’d (forming a co-op would) be better than having to cancel our season like we did this year,” says quarterback at Cadott Ezra Michael. “I'd rather just keep combining with another team.”
The football players say it’s been fun getting to know Cornell’s players and they appreciate the talent that comes with the team.
“I've really learned to get along with all of them and it’s going to be fun next year,” says Brett McChesney, fullback at Cadott.
The students say all they really want is to play ball and that’s something parents seem to understand.
“The upper classmen who are short on numbers right now are going to get a real chance to play varsity season next year,” says Chris Gillett who has a freshman on the Cadott football team and a 7th grader.
Also joining the list of Chippewa County schools considering a co-op is Lake Holcombe which Cornell could also team up with.
“They’re our natural next-door neighbors. Its unusual circumstances that both Cadott and Cornell cancelled football and that’s how this co-op came to be,” says Schley. “Both schools could say no and we're still on our own for football but we're hoping something happens so our students have an opportunity.”
As for Cornell and Cadott, they'll discuss the idea amongst their schools and the proposal will then be submitted by February 1st to the WIAA.