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Murphy: Loss of Belgrade requires Class A realignment

 

January 10, 2019



During an area report presented at Tuesday’s Havre Public School Board of Trustees’ meeting, Havre High School Activities Director Dennis Murphy told the board that, with Belgrade moving out of the Central A conference to become Class AA next year, the “Central A will no longer exist.”

Murphy added that a new alignment would take place.

This new alignment would allow for Havre High to play more class A teams, Murphy said.

The new alignment would also require more driving, he said, adding 200 miles more travel for volleyball and girls and boys basketball.

Board Vice Chair Harvey Capellan asked if the school has looked into combining games into one travel weekend such as the Belgrade and Livingston matches of the past. Murphy said they would be looking into replicating that method.

During the meeting, Murphy also presented nine proposals that were suggested by the Montana High School Association ahead of its upcoming annual meeting Jan. 20-21 in Butte.

The first proposal is to allow school’s June telephone conference calls to have the same procedures as a regular or special meeting, Murphy said.

Murphy added that he was in favor of this proposal because the rules for the schools are printed in August and voted on in September. Murphy said this new proposal would allow the rules to be approved during the June teleconference prior to the start of the school year, rather than a few weeks after.

The second proposal regards the eligibility requirements that are in place. Murphy said MHSA’s proposal requires a student to be enrolled in at least four classes and two of those classes have to be in the actual school. However, Murphy added, Havre Public Schools has more stringent rules, requiring a student to be enrolled in five classes.

Murphy said that he was against this proposal because a student could, theoretically, not show up for class, but still play basketball.

The third proposal is regarding the elimination of the rule that students have to pass four out of seven of their classes at the end of the semester to participate in the next semester.

Murphy said the new proposal would be written so that if a student has passed one class, but failed the others, the student would be given time to pass all the classes while still being allowed to participate in after-school activities.

“You wouldn’t have a timeline to pass the classes,” he added.

Murphy added that he was opposed to this proposal.

The fourth proposal seeks to open up eligibility for eighth-grade participation in more high school sports. As it is written, eighth-graders can only compete at the high school level in basketball, track and volleyball. The new proposal would open up all sports other than football to eighth-graders.

Some of the other sports that would be added, such as cross country, tennis and swimming, don’t necessarily require and actual team, Murphy added. He said if one person is on the roster, then they can compete.

Murphy said while he is in favor of having eighth-graders participate in the sports that are currently written, he is opposed to the new proposal as written.

The fifth proposal regards general penalties, specifically, ejection penalties. The current rule is that any player who is ejected from a game cannot participate for the remainder of that game as well as the next contest.

The proposal seeks to add an amendment to allow a school to submit an appeal to have the ejection reviewed after the game to see if the ejection was truly warranted, said Murphy.

The issue, Murphy added, surrounds the timeliness of the review process. Murphy gave the example of how reviews are performed in the National Football League. He said if there’s a penalty for targeting, “(the officials) confirm the call with a group of people in New York who are watching the game. We don’t have that.”

Murphy added that if a player was ejected at a basketball tournament and the school wanted to challenge the decision, they would need the committee to meet immediately to decide whether the player could participate in the next day’s game.

Due to the complications surrounding the time frame, Murphy said he was opposed to the proposal.

The sixth proposal regards “dead time” for high school sports. The current rule prohibits interscholastic competition between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1. The new proposal would amend the dead time dates to Dec. 23-25.

Murphy said this proposal has come up before and has consistently been voted down. He added that the biggest reasons for it being voted down are providing family time for students and the difficulty in finding workers for any competitions surrounding the newly proposed dates.

Murphy said he would oppose the proposal.

The seventh proposal requests a committee be formed to look into the formation of girls wrestling.

While the rationale for the proposal states that girls wrestling is on the rise, Murphy said, he is unsure if enough girls would want to participate in girls wrestling.

“I’m not opposed to finding more activities for girls,” he added. “I just don’t think that wrestling is the one.”

Murphy said the concern is whether enough girls would compete to fill all the weight classes. He added that some schools have a hard time filling the weight classes with just boys.

“I’m a little surprised by this proposal because the sport that I thought might come up was lacrosse,” said. “Lacrosse is really big in the double A’s right now. They both have girls and boys lacrosse teams.”

While there is an understanding that schools should have equal amounts of girls and boys’ teams, Murphy said the law is more about proportionality. As an example, he said a school in Montana has more girls’ teams than boys teams because the football team allows for 70 boys to participate. This allows for more opportunities for girls teams.

Murphy said he was opposed to the proposal based on the lack of participants in wrestling.

The eighth proposal is to extend the amount of games played in the basketball season from 18 to 20. Murphy said this proposal would go hand-in-hand with the dead time elimination proposal.

Under the new 20-game format, players would be allowed more chances to participate in games and allow schools to fill their schedules with additional tournaments, which count as one game, rather than with distance non-conference games.

Murphy said he is opposed to this proposal as it would most likely require the passing of the dead-time elimination proposal, as well.

The board voted unanimously to allow Murphy to vote in the interest of Havre Public Schools.

The Board also voted unanimously to present Havre High School football player Mason Dionne with the Academic Achievement Award.

Dionne was presented the award at the beginning of the meeting and posed for a photo with the board members.

Havre Public Schools Superintendent Andy Carlson talked about how Dionne was the nicest kid off the gridiron, but when he suited up for gameday, he delivered some hard hits.

 

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