Yellow Medicine East Athletic Director Tim Knapper entered Monday evening’s YME school board meeting looking for direction concerning a proposal made by Renville County West to cooperatively pair football programs, but found that direction difficult to come by.
Early excitement over the possibility of pairing programs seems to have waned since an ad hoc committee, tasked with reviewing RCW’s proposal, was formed and met last week.
The committee, chosen by Knapper, is made up of ardent YME athletic supporters, YME coaches, school board members and parents. Late last week that committee met, reviewed RCW’s proposal (which has not yet been made public, but will be prior to the YME school board taking any action on the issue) and discussed YME’s possible counter offer.
Reactions from that meeting, as recounted by Knapper and YME school board chairman Grant Velde at Monday’s meeting, were mixed at best.
“It was an interesting meeting that’s for sure and I can’t say it exactly went as I had envisioned it,” said Knapper pacifying his statement. “First, the conversation was one that was all over the place, from ‘who will coach?’ to what will our programs and school look like five years down the road if we do this, or don’t do this?”
Said Knapper, “I was surprised by how many on the committee were against the pairing, or were against making any concessions.”
Yet Velde’s reaction to the meeting and the feelings of those involved was more positive. Velde detailed how he talked to several involved with the meeting after it broke up and said that while, during the meeting, those individuals seemed to be firmly against the possible co-op, they were more balanced in their own personal views and may have been playing devils advocate during the meeting to better vet the proposal.
Tempering the earlier excitement over the possible football co-op (which was generated largely through what has been generally thought as a successful first season for the Quad County wrestling program [a co-op between YME, RCW and MACCRAY for wrestling]) is the possibility that the pairing might still result in an RCW/YME co-op having to move up to class AAA.
That was the snag the last time a possible pairing was broached. New Minnesota State High School League rules seemed to clear that road block, but there still is a risk.
Knapper explained that if the schools did pair, they would automatically move into class AAA, they would then have to submit an appeal to the MSHSL to remain in class AA. And it would be that appeal that would determine the new pairings classification. Previously, Knapper had said, “If we don’t qualify to stay in Class 2A, it doesn’t seem that anybody would. Pairing is much more intriguing this year as opposed to last”. But at Monday’s meeting, apparently after receiving mixed signals from the MSHSL his willingness to predict an outcome was more measured.
Page 2 of 2 - One possible proposal from the YME side, that apparently came from the committee meeting, would be to pursue the co-opting of all sports with RCW, not just football. That would effectively spread the benefits and risks out over all sports and not just place them on the football program. RCW has already intimated that they are willing to cooperate in track, cross country, golf and wrestling (where the two schools are already paired with a two-year co-op contract).
For Knapper, he feels pressure to respond to RCW as they’ve stated they would like to have a decision by the time spring sports start, yet the YME school board seems far from a decision. In the meantime, the board directed Knapper to set another meeting for the ad hoc committee and asked him to investigate whether it would be prudent to have the two committees from YME and RCW meet.