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Can students handle two sports at once?

Staff writer

Hillsboro High School is considering allowing students to play two sports concurrently but not everyone is sold on the idea.

Dual sports are allowed at 56% of schools in Hillsboro’s league.

Of Hillsboro coaches who responded to a survey, 44% said they would support dual sports with conditions, and 33% said they wouldn’t because it could create team conflict. Eleven percent of coaches said maybe, and 11% said yes with no conditions.

Three coaches who said “yes” to the survey stipulated they only would support dual individual sports, such as track and golf, not dual team sports.

Of teachers, 53% said yes, and 47% said no.

Superintendent Clint Corby told school board members Monday that he was torn.

“On some days, I can be in favor of it,” he said.

On other days, he worries about putting additional strain on students.

Between classes and homework, a normal day for students is 12 hours, he said. Students who would practice two sports a day would put in 14 hours. On a game day, students playing dual sports would lengthen their day to 17 hours, he calculated.

Add in other extracurricular activities such as a musical, and he is concerned about students burning out.

“A lot of our kids, they want to do it all,” he said.

Board member Rod Koons said he thought administrators and coaches already had plenty to do.

“We probably have too many activities for a school our size,” he said. “Let’s admit it.”

Allowing dual sports would “appease a few people,” he said.

A student could get injured in one sport, which would affect team members of another sport, he said.

“That chaps me,” Koons told his fellow board members.

The school already has a difficult time finding coaches, board member Sara Wichert said.

“I think we do have coaches who want to put students first,” she said, referring to academic achievement.

Plus, she said, some students play club sports.

Coaches of students who play club sports and also compete at school say their athletes don’t recover quickly — even though they’re young, Wichert said.

Admitting he’s “not a sports person,” member Jessey Hiebert would want to see robust grades from students competing in two sports at once.

“We’re teaching our kids more than playing games,” he said.

Corby said some other districts required a C average to play dual sports.

Playing two sports would be a privilege, not a right, Scott Winter said.

“3.0 would be on the low end for me,” he said, citing an average grade of B.

As a parent, Jim Paulus said his first response was “I can parent my child” and determine whether dual sports would be a good idea.

He could see advantages for students seeking college scholarships.

Later, he clarified his child wouldn’t play dual sports.

“I have a swimmer,” he said. “I’m not for 20 kids doing this at all.”

Winter expressed concern about the impact on administrators. Corby said allowing dual sports would require a lot of coordination between coaches.

“If we can’t do it well, we have no business doing it,” Winter said.

A senior who attended the meeting runs track and said he has a 4.0 GPA.

He didn’t want to identify himself “because I don’t like putting my opinion out there,” but he thought there would be more cons than pros.

Koons agreed.

“Let’s don’t fool ourselves,” he said. “There will be problems. We’d like to do everything, wouldn’t we? We all would, but you can’t do it.”

School board members didn’t vote on the matter.

“My recommendation was not to take action on this tonight” but to start a conversation, Corby said.

Last modified April 12, 2023

 

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