Faculty board cancels soccer program for 2020
Sedona Red Rock High School will not have a football team in Fall 2020.
At an online board meeting on Tuesday, May 5th, the Sedona-Oak Creek School District Board of Directors unanimously voted 5-0 not to have a soccer team at SRRHS for the upcoming school year.
The overall decline in the program was one of the reasons the district sports director Don Burton cited in his presentation. Over the past four seasons, the SRRHS teams had an average of 25 players on their roster to start the season. Between injuries where players were no longer eligible due to grades or players left the team for other reasons, this average dropped to 15.5 by the end of the season.
As the number of participants declined, players were forced to play both offensively and defensively, often with very little chance of resting even for a game. This only increases the risk of injury, Burton noted.
Another point on the presentation was that Sedona Red Rock Junior High School formed its own soccer team in 2019, with the hope that it would play a role similar to that of the SRRHS program, freshman and junior varsity teams in larger schools carry out.
The Junior High Scorpions competed in the field twice, with later games on the schedule being canceled as more than half of the roster went academic
not eligible. In the two games Sedona lost 55-0 and 60-6.
One point that was not addressed was that the junior high team was put together after the 2019-20 school year had started. That only gave the players a few weeks of training before resisting teams with far more experience. While two losses by a combined score of 115-6 are less than desirable, these results weren’t entirely unexpected either.
A number of players from these teams would have had a significant season as newcomers to the high school team in 2020, often against juniors and seniors who are much bigger, stronger, and faster – increasing the chances of injury.
Burton also mentioned that in addition to the Junior High Team, a number of interventions have been conducted or attempted by both the school and the Arizona Interscholastic Association to make the SRRHS program – and others who like it – more competitive.
In the spring of 2019, the school district hired Bob Young to lead the high school soccer program and bond with a weight class he was teaching physical education. The hope was that a coach on campus could better recruit football with Young’s resume
That didn’t happen. Young resigned as a coach last month, telling the Sedona Red Rock News that he felt this was the only way to save the program in hopes that another coach would get the athletes on better could.
Since the end of the 2019 season, SRRHS twice appealed to the AIA to move to Division 1A, which would mean 8v8 soccer. The first appeal came in January, the second after Young’s resignation. Both appeals were rejected by the sports directors of the Division 1A schools.
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In addition, the state divided football where the weaker programs were [based on record and numbers] would resist. Nevertheless, Sedona has not had a successful season since the 7-3 in 2015. The Scorpions’ record this year was strengthened by a 5-1 win against reservation schools, which are traditionally weaker in football than other sports – such as basketball.
In the following four seasons, the SRRHS team lost 8-32, with one of the wins forfeited. In the 39 games played on the pitch during that time, the Scorpion teams were beaten by 1,433 to 709 points, which landed them on the wrong end of an average of 36.7 to 18.2 per game. The latest results have not been any better. Sedona went 2-8 in 2019, beating 370-187. Many of the team’s best players were seniors.
A final issue that was addressed was cost.
Burton’s presentation found that Scorpions’ football program lost around $ 9,000 in total in 2019. Transport costs were not included in this figure [roughly $3.95 per mile for road games], custodian, stadium lighting, cheerleading coach, and AIA cost of $ 427.10 per sport.
Burton added that unlike Junior High School, the AIA could charge the school $ 1,500 if the high school season went as planned and the school was forced to lose a street game due to the lack of available players .
A confusing part of Burton’s presentation was about cost. Part of the $ 13,511 spend that Burton pointed out was the $ 8,400 earmarked for equipment costs. As part of the same line on Powerpoint, he added that the Scorpions uniforms were purchased from a private donor, but it appeared that uniform cost was being factored into the factor.
Burton later claimed that the $ 8,400 did not include a uniform cost, but was used for other equipment needs. It was not stated whether SRRHS could get the money back for this equipment as football is no longer played in the school.
As for the future, the decision not to play football is only for the 2020-21 school year. Burton stated that Sedona would need no fewer than 25 to 30 dedicated players to re-apply to play football in the upcoming seasons.
Burton added that he was presented with a list of 20 interested players. Of these, four were newbies and two had said they would only play for a junior varsity team. Another interested player was one who was not academically eligible to participate in the sport for the entire 2019-20 school year.
“It’s one thing to say on social media in April that you’re going to play,” said Burton. “But we need to know that you really plan to play.”