Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Kimball and Banner County explore a co-op for student athletes

 

February 15, 2018



With declining numbers in area schools, Kimball and Banner County school districts are exploring a cooperative agreement for volleyball, girls and boys basketball.

“They contacted us and asked if we would be interested in co-oping with them for these sports,” Kimball Activities Director, Ken Smith, said. “They would still maintain their own wrestling, track and cross country.”

Smith added that the district has been contacted in the past regarding football, but based on numbers and Kimball’s ability to drop down to an eight-man team, the co-op would not have been mutually beneficial.

Kari Gifford, Banner County Activities Director, estimated that they could send four or five ladies to Kimball for volleyball and girl’s basketball as well as two or three young men for boys basketball each season, according to Smith.

After running numbers and speaking with head coaches, Smith brought the matter before the board. The co-op would change numbers enough that the local district would move up to C-1 for volleyball and remain C-2 for both basketball teams, though coaches don’t expect that to make a big difference.

“It’s not going to change our regular season – who we play,” Smith said. “Head coaches overall believe that C-1 or C-2 is not an issue and that picking up four to five or two to three additional players could be a bonus to us.”

Smith added that the districts are early in considering the cooperative, which comes with a mandated two-year agreement. The deadline for the agreement is June 1 for fall sports and Sept. 1 for basketball.

“I have mixed emotions. I think it could lead to good things between us and Banner County Schools,” Smith said. “I would hate to see kids in Banner County that love to play basketball but don’t have anywhere to go. I think that would be terrible.”

Differing school schedules may be a factor, and as the conversation progresses, Smith said the two districts may find there are more differences and that the cooperative is simply not beneficial.

“I think if we are going to do what is best for kids, I think we should try it,” he concluded. “I think we would be foolish not to try it.”

The board directed Smith to move forward with the conversation, explore the possibilities and report back to them.

 

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