ASAA Board comes to Ninilchik

Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010

Homer High School's hockey program could be receiving a much-needed boost from nearby Voznesenka next season.

Amending the bylaws surrounding the Cooperative Schools Program is one of the action items on the Alaska Schools Activities Association Board of Directors' agenda at its upcoming meeting. The two-day meeting will be held Sunday, from 10:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., and Monday, from 8:30 a.m. until the conclusion of regular business, at Captain Steve's Fishing Lodge, located at 22780 Shady Drive in Ninilchik. The public is welcome to attend.

ASAA rejected a proposed amendment that would have allowed the Mariners and Cougars to skate together as one team at its Feb. 21-22 meetings. Instead, the board offered its own amendment to the current co-op bylaws.

If passed, a school with an enrollment of fewer than 451 students could co-op with another school with fewer than 451 students for team sports. Both schools must meet certain requirements, such as being located in the same school district and be ASAA members.

"The intent isn't to create a super team," ASAA board president Terry Martin said. "The intent is for small schools."

Homer's enrollment for this year is 372 students. Voznesenka has 38 students in grades nine through 12.

The amendment does not include individual sports, because there isn't a required number of athletes to field a team. In swimming, for example, it's possible for a school to have a program with just one participant.

"One of the schools requesting (the co-op) needs to not have sufficient numbers to field a team," Martin said.

The Voznesenka-Homer hockey situation was the main thrust behind the amendment.

"That's what brought it to a head," Martin said. "This co-op will address that situation, and potentially others around the state."

Should the board approve the amendment, which Martin anticipates it will, the result will be positive for all students, he said.

"It's been chewed on for a good, long while," Martin said. "I think this is a nice resolution for everyone involved."

The reclassification and calendar committees will also give reports at the meeting. Should a request for a schedule change be made, the calendar committee is tasked with looking at how that change would affect other sports.

"Our job is to look at all sports, not one over another," Martin said.

Any potential change from either committee will be brought up for discussion at the meeting.

The reclassification committee is responsible for promoting participation and regulating fairness among the four classifications of schools. The increasing enrollment at many 4A schools and decreasing enrollment in 1-2-3A schools is just one challenge with which the committee deals.

"The big schools get bigger and the small schools get smaller," Martin said.

Schools opting up, like Seldovia, must also be monitored. The Sea Otters, a 1A team, play at the 2A level. Schools with enrollment of 5-50 students have a 1A classification, 51-99 are 2A, 100-400 are 3A and 401 and up are 4A.

Increasing the numbers at each classification level could be brought up for discussion, Martin said. Should the committee recommend a firm proposal that the board agrees on, the co-op amendment, if passed, would have to be altered to fit within the new classification guidelines.

A major concern of the classification committee is keeping each sport at each level as competitive as possible, Martin said.

"Maintaining a level playing field is important," he said.

The board will also vote on the Gold Lifetime Pass Recipients award. Former Ninilchik girls basketball coach Dan Leman is up for the award from Region II.

Leman coached the Wolverines for 18 seasons. He made it to the state tournament 17 times, won eight Class 2A state titles and finished with a record of 372-37.

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