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Lacrosse Still a No-Go in District 228

While coaches, players and parents of the Oak Forest Fury continue to lobby for the Bremen School District to field a co-op team, the District will not sign off on it, leaving high school players lacking games and acknowledgement.

For two years, parents, players and coaches of the have been lobbying for to approve a co-op lacrosse team. For two years, according to coaches, the District has remained silent.

And much to the chagrin of Fury leadership,  board members didn't break that silence during a meeting Aug. 21.

“I approached the school board two years ago to start this program,” said Charley Sopko. “We had some talking back and forth and nothing really happened. I approached them a year ago, and have been snubbed ever since.”

Sopko said that the board asked for information about the potential program, including cost estimates, and he has yet to hear back on his report. He added that the board said there was a soft cost to the program, but the organization disputes that.

Coach Jason Hedke said that all the organization needs is a signed Emerging Sports Agreement, which would allow the Fury lacrosse team to play other area high school teams. With the letter, the team would up the number of games it plays during the season to nearly 20, up from only five or six currently.

“It's very difficult to get games,” said Hedke. “Because now, basically all the teams that have the emerging sport [designation] make their schedules, and then if they have weekends after that, we have to grub for those games.”

District Superintendent Bill Kendall said that the board would like to sign off on the letter, but that the IHSA is currently debating eliminating the letter that would allow the team to play area schools.

“[The IHSA] is considering waiving that emerging sports document, that was supposed to be done at the August meeting, but they didn't have a quorum,” Kendall said. “So it's going to be voted on at the IHSA level in September. So as soon as we get a ruling on that, the emerging sports document may go away.”

Should the emerging sports document stay, Kendall said he was unwilling to say if the board would sign off on the document. He added that the potential costs of the program were also a roadblock in getting the program up and running.

“There's costs and there's risks,” Kendall said. “Eventually, they're going to go on to college. Now, do we absorb the costs and hire somebody, or do we just say there's no lacrosse anymore? … It may not be a cost in the short term, but in the long term there's certainly a cost.”

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Sue1 September 24, 2012 at 07:16 PM
That's the part they don't want anyone to think about.
Sue1 September 24, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Hamish, Have to agree with you. On both issues. I know the teachers didn't strike, so that's mute, but I don't buy the no cost thing either. If it's connected to the school they have to make sure all the people involved with those children are capable of doing so. What about the low income kids? Are they to be excluded? Who pays for them? If it becomes a sport in the high school, sanctioned under IHSA, it will require per contract, a teacher to coach them, uniforms, officials, etc. If the district tried to make any other sports pay to play, people would be screaming.
Sue1 September 24, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Mr. Hedke is on a school board, why doesn't he start this at his school? Why doesn't the district even participate in the State competitions for the teams they do have? My kids sure would like to go down state, but they aren't even allowed. For that matter, isn't Mrs. Sopko on a board too? If there are no costs, let's see it.
Sue1 September 24, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Exactly. You know there is someone out there just waiting to sue the school over something. Again, I think people are missing the whole purpose of the "Emergent Sport Agreement". This means it is being looked at as being added as a sport. At that point, all control, costs, etc, just turned over to the school.
Hamish September 24, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Nope Hedke is on the Grammer school Board and Sopko is on the Park District Board

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