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Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014

Idea of starting a high school football program gets the boot at WRV

Posted Monday, June 4, 2012, at 3:03 PM

As adults in decision-making positions, what seems like a simple "yea" or "nay" vote may have repercussions that run deep and long-term.

In late May, the White River Valley Board of School Trustees voted 5-2 not to add football as a school-sanctioned sport at the high school level.

The vote affirmed to many onlookers that those in the decision-making positions at WRV prefer for the school to remain a "basketball school."

That's understandable, but what about the 5-10 husky kid who wants to represent his school too?

Why not give him the same opportunity to earn a college scholarship playing a sport he enjoys?

On the surface, football looks like an expensive, long-term deal for a school district, like many others in the state, that is struggling to learn the lessons of making ends meet.

In WRV's case, a dedicated and hard-working group of parents and students involved in the White River Valley Community Football League offered a generous proposal to the school board that basically offered to pay for the start-up year's expenses.

The league is well-established -- founded about three decades ago by the late WRV Worthington Principal Larry Catron, who loved kids and loved the game of football and put the two together at the lower grade levels.

Over the years, the program's number of participants and fans continued to grow and its current leadership wanted to take the football program to the next level. The normal progression would be the founding of a high school-level program.

For the record, school board member Mark Downey, of Worthington, and Charles Records, of rural Newberry, voted in support of starting the program.

Board members Jason Davidson, Andrew Graves, Roger Weaver, Glenn Cundiff, and Roger Shake voted no.

The vote killed the chance to have an organized high school team for the 2012-13 season.

There's also been some rumblings in the Bloomfield School District about adding football, but so far the idea hasn't got past the superintendent's office I'm told, and there's been no formal talk about football in any public school board meeting in recent years.

Downey pointed out that he felt like the proposal presented by the youth league officials was a win-win for the school district with the football league picking up the tab for uniforms, equipment, and field accessories.

He stressed that according to Indiana High School Athletic Association regulations a new gridiron program must play at the junior varsity level for two seasons before launching a varsity schedule. This gives the program time to huddle up, get its feet on the ground and build a fan base before kicking off varsity play.

There's a good chance we haven't heard the last from the football folks, if they are still going to enroll their kids at WRV in future years.

Many would say that there are much more important things to educate our students with than something as petty as playing a football game or marching in the band at halftime.

The same could be said for the sacred sport of basketball or tennis, golf, baseball, softball, cross country or volleyball.

It's all about opportunity to learn skills and abilities that can be taught outside the classroom.

Downey pointed out that when preserving what students that are already enrolled and trying to entice others to come in to the school district, offerings like football could make a difference.

"I hate to put a number on a kid, but when the state funding is $6,300 a kid it has to be considered. I would hate to see a kid go (somewhere else) just because of football," he said.

Currently, only Linton and Eastern Greene -- the largest of the county's five school districts -- offer football.

Local football supporters tell me that Owen Valley, North Daviess and Linton-Stockton teams have picked up some WRV and Bloomfield students over the years.

Football actually got a double slap in the face by the WRV board when Downey followed with a second motion to allow the youth league to move their home games from the Worthington Elementary School field to the high school track and field complex on the WRV campus in Switz City.

That motion died for a lack of a second.

As adults we need to do more to nurture a sense of social responsibility, tolerance, conscience and ethics in our youth.

Football can be a tool to do that.

Being loyal to one's school is a commendable value. Activities to promote team spirit , like football, should be promoted.

Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com .

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

"Local football supporters tell me that Owen Valley, North Daviess and Linton-Stockton teams have picked up some WRV and Bloomfield students over the years" - I know of two in the upcoming 7th grade class that would / might leave and go to LHS for football. So not only past students, but future students.

I totally disagree with youth league not getting to use the track and field complex. After all, back when the track was built, what was the intention of the inside of the track?

-- Posted by Orion's Belt on Tue, Jun 5, 2012, at 8:47 AM

Most people want to start picking sides like football verses education, or football verses basketball. That is very sad and short sighted. its plainly and simply about our kids.

We have 25% of the k-12 male student body participating when (as some would say) it doesn't even count because it's just community league. When that many of your students already participate and want to compete where it does count in an IHSAA program...a NO vote is a shameful disservice to our entire student body!

The thing that is the most sad about it is that we have stated all along that this has never really been about "football". It's about providing opportunity to ALL of our kids while building a stronger sense of unity & pride for our school, our students and our communities. This allows the school to retain and attract more students which provides for the state funding for keeping our teachers, expanding our academic opportunities and breaking the current cycle of cutting programs, replacing teachers with aid's and all but telling our kids that if they want more opportunity, they need to seek it elsewhere.

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Tue, Jun 5, 2012, at 11:01 AM

You just restated the same exact point that I was making. It's not about football, it is about the money!

There are at least 4 student football players leaving this coming year that would be staying if we provided for our kids. That means we will have $25,200 less in next years funding. Just those 4 leaving over the next 4 years will translate to $100,800 lost in state funding. It's common sense and basic math!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Thu, Jun 7, 2012, at 4:15 PM

All surrounding schools, athletic directors and even all of our board members disagree. The research was done and my numbers were verified so you are simply uninformed or unable to accept facts!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Thu, Jun 7, 2012, at 6:06 PM

Then you were not looking at MY figures that were presented to the board. They included the entire football program budget for Eastern... All income, all expenses, all salaries, start up costs, uniforms, equipment, ground maintenance,...everything!

We offered to pay complete start up which is the largest expense the program would ever see.

With annual cost and revenue, all surrounding programs operate at break even. So the only thing that is a risk as far as finances is the state funding dollars that are leaving WRV and going down the road with each transferred student!

You are speaking based on what you believe and nothing more. I am simply using facts and statistics that are the definition of "realistic" because they are from records of what actually happens at our neighboring schools.

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Thu, Jun 7, 2012, at 9:54 PM

I have those figures too but you are unwilling to accept any other facts and figures.

Interred ting how all you have done here is claim that the facts are not true yet fail to produce any figures yourself!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Fri, Jun 8, 2012, at 6:00 PM


There are many here that would like to know, please help us understand.

1. How much does Linton, Dugger, Eastern, pay in salaries? How much did you include for WRV?

2. How much did Linton, Dugger, Eastern, spend to build a field/facilities? How much did you include for WRV?

3 How much did your figures to the board include for insurance?

It will help us decide to join your cause.

-- Posted by chevygleen on Sat, Jun 9, 2012, at 7:40 AM

thank you both...John & John. Many already know that "chevygleen" is you as well John.

That being said, we would love to have even more supporters.

I excluded those figures from the written proposal but discussed it with board members. I didn't want salary figures included because they are all over the map. Anything in print would draw people to cite one schools program and try to paint me a liar. I did not want the appearance of padding the fugures in either direction. It could also be used against our board in negotiating a salary with a potential coach if they voted to start a program. I still want to protect that aspect for our board.

The best way to address this is by stating that a head coach is typically the only coach that receives a salary especially at a smaller or startup program. Obviously, a larger program even if it is at a smaller school will have a higher scale and even pay additional coaches to attract for example a deffensive specialist as a coach. That evolves with the program just as with any other sport. A WRV football head coach would receive a salary comprable to the basketball or baseball head coach. Beyond that a coach would request any paid assistant coaches from the A/D and board which would only be granted if the football portion of the athletic budget warranted doing so.

Insurance paid annually by Eastern is $3,500 for the football programs liability rider.

As far as how much surrounding schools spent on "building" a field/facilities... WRV already built one that the tax payers have been paying for already. The grass infield inside the WRV track is more than adequate to play an IHSAA football game on tomorrow. Everything else needed to have a game the youth league has offered to pay for which is a one time cost.

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Sat, Jun 9, 2012, at 5:09 PM

If you look up old comments Mr. Coleman and I have had many disagreements. I take offense and your accusation. You know owe us both an apology, for thinking you have the facts and do not.

I guess you will not give me what I need to make the decision. I need to know how much it will cost in the future, when you and your group will not donate what is needed. I need to know how much coaches pay ranges. I need to know how much additional bleachers and lights will cost, (approx). I need to know how much equipment is per player, not what you will donate this time. I need to know what ordinary costs for a program run. It is clear to me that this is a bare bones way to get football started. Then once it is a program more money will be needed.

I need to know why you say this in a recent article: "A good target would be 40 to start a program, we think we can easily hit 50. We don't think numbers would be a problem."


I need to know how you will get 50 kids in a much smaller school. When Linton a great winning football program. After going undefeated, could barely get it done.


I see a lot of words and very little details.

-- Posted by chevygleen on Sat, Jun 9, 2012, at 6:24 PM

Well John, I understand that there are some that just do not want football to come in to our school and continue to argue in the face of facts. Obviously you fall into that group and I understand that. We all have things that we simply disagree with no matter what.

To call what I have presented rhetoric; is to say at the least, very revealing about you.

All of the dozens of figures that have been presented in our January proposal and in my comments here are nothing but completely factual. Our program has been buying equipment for 100+ boys each year. When we receive an invoice and write a check, those figures are facts! When we receive the complete budget for the Eastern football program from the Eastern A/D, those figures are facts too!

To come out and say I do not want football is honest and understandable. To argue against factual figures by calling them rhetoric is not.

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Sat, Jun 9, 2012, at 8:30 PM

Well, looking at the above comments I see that I explained the coach salary issue. It would be the same as baseball or basketball for coaching.

Cost of a field: We already built one that the tax payers are already paying for.

Insurance for Eastern is $3,500/yr.

WRVCYFL would donate its existing player equipment and pay for any other needed equipment.

As for all other figures... You stated that you saw the numbers in our January proposal which include Eastern's football financials. There are dozens and dozens of figures that are all facts. They have been verified by the board and administration to be facts. You are the one who has not presented one number or statistic to refute one single figure that I have presented here or to the board!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Sat, Jun 9, 2012, at 9:42 PM

"There are dozens and dozens of figures that are all facts"

Please help us with them, so far i have seen one number for insurance. your answers should look like this:

1. coaches are paid 8-12 per year

2. There would be three, total coaching exp. would be 20-30 thousand per year.

3. uniforms are $500 each you would need 60-70. Keep in mind we are bring the first set.

4. nothing at first, we just want to play. if the decision was made to have a better field it would be closer to $500,000

5. we are a small school, I think it will work

6. our children are worth it.

That is how we could have an open discussion about facts and figures. please feel free to join in.

-- Posted by chevygleen on Sun, Jun 10, 2012, at 9:38 AM

I must say I'm inclined to agree with John on this. Go to the search bar and type in "WRV teacher" and the first things you will see are stories of retirement incentives and such to reduce the cost of teacher salaries. If the economic situation requires such action, addition of another program is simply a daft proposal. You talk of all of these things you will donate, but one must be mindful that these donations will wear out under use, and will need to be replaced. This will be an on-going cost. Of how much is the prevailing question.

In regard to your statement of having 50 kids, I say that is absolutely ridiculous. We do not have the enrollment for that. If you want to see a comparable program to what ours would be, Union would be a better template. Eastern and Linton are vastly bigger.

On the subject of increased enrollment, I would also question the sense or honesty of your claims. In my class (2010) I only recall one student who left for football. This would increase the funding for that one class approx. $6000 (assuming the figure you gave). In many classes, I knew of none. The assumption that we will save students' enrollments in sufficient quantity to improve the financial situation is something I doubt. The cost of the program (turfgrass maintainance, salaries, equipment repair/service/replacement) will more likely surpass the extra money gained(if any actually surfaces).

Last, the idea that we will attract students from other area schools also lacks credibility. Why would a student interested in football come to a tiny corporation with an unestablished and inexperienced team rather than one with a large and proven program? If we were the only corporation around with football, then possibly, but this is not the case. Furthermore, the (very public) corporate infighting coupled with the (also very public) difficult financial situation would prove to detract people from our school to those who appear to be more stable. This is a corporation in which there are established groups pushing for dissolution of the district, if their concerns are not met. For a program like this to succeed, many things need to happen: 1.) the financial situation must improve 2.) stability and general agreement must be restored 3.) enrollment trends need to be improved. These are all things which will take years to accomplish. Until this is done, I simply don't see how this will work.

I'm certain the league will present several participants who swear that until football is approved, they will leave the school. One must remain objective, however; they may be being used as posterchildren at the urging of the program proponents. It's also an "ethical" question (of sorts): simply because someone wants a program for their kid doesn't mean that the school should rush to accommodate them. I could easily produce children who wish to have fencing, kickball, soccer, lazertag, paintball, cattletipping, whathaveyou as a program but that doesn't give justification for the Board to add it. To have the childrens' best interest in mind, I would think it would be wiser to look out for the interest of the corporation, lest it be pieced out and the children resituated in other districts.

-- Posted by Tyler VanDeventer on Sun, Jun 10, 2012, at 1:39 PM

This is where two board members are sitting on the fence. My belief is that attracting more students to either stay here or transfer here is one piece of the pie to correcting the enrollment trend for the past decade. We are loosing 18/year consistently. Our school is not doing hardly anything to make WRV attractive to families. It is about butts in the seat. If we continue to offer less and less for example: college credit, honors programs and yes athletics like football... We will continue to loose students which decreases our funding which causes the school to cut more teachers and programs which leads to more families seeking other schools with more opportunity. It is like being stuck in a revolving door and until we break the cycle, it will continue.

John, I appreciate your comments about our youth program. This is one of the things that make this recent endeavor so frustrating. It is like we all can identify the problem with the direction of the school corp. and everyone can see how good the football program is for our youth. Most that have attended or have kids playing know what the kids are learning about leadership, commitment, perseverance, sportsmanship & character. Everyone can see that (even as a community league) we can afford equipment & uniforms through fund raising. Everyone can see how (even as a community league) we are able to have enough WRV students to play. And on and on. Yet there are still those that do not think it is possible to have a school program.

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Sun, Jun 10, 2012, at 6:30 PM

Mr. VanDeventer,

I saw you speak a couple of months ago to the school board. You are clearly intelligent and have good character yourself. I am going to assume that you didn't really intend to imply that anyone representing the WRVCYFL would ever encourage even one child to leave WRV for any reason. We did not approach this recent proposal for a football program with torches & pitch forks or making any conditional demands or threats. We are pleading with school officials to grant the 25% of the current WRV male student body who play for us the opportunity to compete under the school banner in the IHSAA precisely so the will not continue to seek opportunity elsewhere! Everyone connected to our program is here for the kids and we are proud and choose to call ourselves WRV.

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Sun, Jun 10, 2012, at 6:46 PM

I feel I was unclear with my statement. Allow me to apologize and clarify.

I know the community league is a credible organization and would not do anything dishonest to detract from their credibility. However, some parents are on occasion excitable and may recommend their child testify thus in order to help their own personal interests. This is sometimes the case (although I present it only as a possibility, as I know of no specific intention) as some people hold less value regarding honesty than others. Similarly, one or a few participants, believing their actions will help their just cause, my also threaten their enrollment status to teachers or administration even though their parents have no intention of actually acting upon the claims. I am certain the organization itself however, knows that such actions will only damage rather than help their cause and intends to present an honest intention. In stating "the league", I inaccurately stated the target subject. Again, my apologies.

With regard to the enrollment, I agree it is a problem. However, I do not believe spending money in order to stop the hemorrhaging of money is wise. WRV should move to find ways to preserve money. If the program were unsuccessful in paying for itself, it would serve to further incapacitate the school's finances.

I do know the league has done well and attracted players, but when the team becomes tied with the school, many things change. Coaches who have donated their time will eventually have to be compensated and be brought on as employees (as I believe is the law, in order for the school to protect itself for liability. Needs verification.) eliminating the freedom which the staff has been able to operate under. While the league is required only to have enough players for a team, the school will require enough to not only have a team, but to make the program worth the cost. Also, some players may not be able to play, as sanctioning requires acceptable grades for students to participate, possibly threatening the roster. I do not believe school sanctioned football is a bad thing, but I don't believe WRV is in a position to take on such a risky venture. Perhaps if the environment improves, it would be feasible.

-- Posted by Tyler VanDeventer on Sun, Jun 10, 2012, at 9:24 PM

For me, the argument ends when you do look at just a few specific examples.

We had a 4th grader go to North Daviess 3 years ago for football. That cost WRV $6,300 x 8yrs =$50,400.

We lost the Stowell twins two years ago after their 8th grade year which cost us $6,300 x 2 x 4Yrs =$50,400.

There are 7confirmed leaving for the upcoming year for football!

Just on an annual cost basis, next year we will have 10 students that would still be WRV students that will be at other schools: 5 at Linton, 4 at North Daviess and 1 at OV.

Next year alone, it will cost us $63,000 not to have a football program!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Sun, Jun 10, 2012, at 11:11 PM

Again, most schools only pay (1) head coach. State wide, some are paid as little as $2,700. Ours would be paid the same as our basketball head coach or baseball head coach. No school has to pay any other coach ever! That is done based on the size of school/program and it's success. If a program produces a profit, the head coach can request to bring in a paid specialist coach such as an offensive or defensive coach. Just like they request an $8,000 blocking sled. If the program produces a profit they are likely to have requests granted. This is why most surrounding programs break even. They don't really break even, because they just buy more expensive helmets, jerseys, training equipment etc.

The only thing the WRV field needs are goal posts, lights and a scoreboard. There is an existing press box, concession stand and public restrooms as well as a medium set of bleachers. A startup program has to play Junior Varsity for a minimum of 2 years per IHSAA regulations. The grandstands that we now have would be adequate seating for home & visitor seating until a Varsity Squad would be added. Adding another set similar on the opposite side for the visitors would be just over $17,500 with an estimated $22,000 installed.

The field itself needs nothing. It is crowned and has healthy dense grass. The 85 yard field we currently play on at the Worthington elementary is flat and has thin grass and we usually have to walk the field before the first game of the day to mash down mole tunnels. The officials we use are from the WVOA (Wabash Valley Officials Association) that officiate High School football throughout Vigo and surrounding counties. They say that our flat thin mole tunneled field is better than some School fields. The cost if preparing our field for the first game would be $0!

Uniforms are purchased every 2 years, cycled down to JV for another 2 years and retiring them after 4 years. All surrounding schools buy a complete set each year, first home uniforms then next year away uniforms. This costs on average $2,500/yr. they spend another $1,400/yr on helmets and shoulder pads to cycle their inventory that has a lifespan of 10 years. With miscellaneous costs added in, surrounding programs spend an average of $5,500/yr.

Eastern for 2011 season took in $20,750 in revenues and spent just over $26,000 for a loss of about $5,000. That includes everything from gas, bus, drivers, officials down to equipment, insurance, tape and grass seed. I would like to point out that they also pay for everything like paying to have the field painted and paying workers for parking, gate and consessions which other schools do not do. They could easily break even if they attracted more volunteers.

Even if it didn't turn a dime in revenue at WRV, a $26,000 loss is far cheaper than a $63,000 loss that we will have this year! If our board had voted to start football this year, we could have hired a first year licensed teacher as well!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 12:13 AM

Well, I hope that this info makes you as mad as it does me. The academic requirement at WRV is 2-F's!!!

Amazing threshold huh! I can't even wrap my head around that one.

On your estimates, I would look for revenues to be around the $10,000 mark but only for the first 2-3 years until a varsity squad is started. You can't simply plug in a percentage calculate that. To start with, WRV enrollment 2011-12 was 786 from central office ADM. A football team has on average 45 players which hold consistent regardless of school size until you the size of Ben Davis for example. Linton only graduated 66 seniors this year but they have had up to 6,000 go through the gate at a home game. At $3 for a gate fee, that is $18,000 alone in a school of about 1,000 students. Owen Valley's enrollment is around 2,000 and they had $21,500 in revenue for the 2011-12 season.

A coaches salary would be well below $10,000.

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 11:03 AM

Currently WRV baseball and softball is around $2400 per yr for head coach.

Volleyball is around $3200

Boys and girls Basketball is around $4-5000

With that being said, a football coach would most likely be under $4000

These are not hidden figures and are easily attained by asking the current coaches.

My Opinion for what its worth:

If the community league wants football at the High School, then make the proposal a 3-5 yr commitment with no cost, I mean absolutely no cost, to the school. I assume the league will continue to play on WRV property so their league fundraising and volunteer coaches could continue as is. This either proves at the end of 3-5 yrs if the program is sustainable. The board then makes the decision in 3-5 yrs if the economics of the program is justified. The board would approve coaches, supply zero funds, only supply the facility. The community league would need means to move the track events inside the track to a board approved site. Many other details would need to be worked out I am certain, however a commitment from each side is certainly more than what the league has now.

I would think this would be a compromise over the current situation.

-- Posted by Chris Cornelius on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 4:02 PM

The above figures are for the season of the sport. Extras like summer camps and programs are additional to the above salaries.

-- Posted by Chris Cornelius on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 4:16 PM

I waited a couple of days deciding whether to enter into a conversation with you because I knew in advance it would be never ending. You are a moving target as always.

You say you know my numbers yet ask me for them repeatedly.

You complain about me not giving numbers after saying that you know them so I give the numbers.

When I give the numbers you call them massaged numbers.

I entered into this conversation for those in the public to read. The thing about "MY" numbers is that they are not "MY" numbers at all! They are from the AD's of Linton, Eastern, OV, WRV, WRVCYFL, North Daviess, Silver Creek, Pacesetter Sports, Schutt Athletics, Fisher Athletics, the IHSAA and REMC. Feel free to contact any of those mentioned and provide on here a contact and phone number for anyone that says I have massaged their numbers!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 7:52 PM


I saw your figures, They are not realistic. There was a lot of donated services and time. No realistic field expense. It was not useful for a continuing program. It did not include "realistic": coaches salaries, new uniform purchases, insurance, field expenses. It was a massaged made up numbers, that at best were the low end expenditures that would only increase with time.

-- Posted by johnpaulcoleman on Thu, Jun 7, 2012, at 7:28 PM

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 9:39 PM

Stop referring to them as "MY" numbers and arguing that they are massaged or made up and prove to us all by contacting the sources I cited and tell us all which one of us is full of hot air!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 9:45 PM

Your example would be true only if OV had 4 seperate football programs John. If Kyle Ship, AD at OV gave me:

1. $10,000

2. $12,500

3. $15,000

4. $21,500

Then I used the $21,500 figure to represent what OV's revenues were and didn't disclose what their 3 other football programs generated, then I would agree that would be massaging the numbers. As I stated in my presentation to the board as a whole and to several board members individually in discussing my research, I do not want to misrepresent any figures. I want them to be true and honest because even the appearance of being less than completely above board would give our youth league a black eye and set their hopes back 20 years.

If you care to check even one of my sources, check with Mr. Ship at OV. He will also tell you that the 2011 season that produced $21,500 in revenues was the lowest number they had seen in 12-15 years. They also had a large group of tallent graduate in 2010 so this was a rebuilding year just as all schools experience now and then. He will also tell you that in 2009, their revenues were just over $33,000!!!

I think if I wanted to "massage the numbers" I might have chose that one instead!

If you care to actually check any of my sources, I'm sure anyone reading this would love to hear what you find.

Also a little advice...I suggest you do a little research before you challenge someone's numbers. I would also do some research before you start questioning someone's character and integrity!

-- Posted by LCWilhoite on Tue, Jun 12, 2012, at 4:09 AM

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