Chris Passarge, Lakota’s executive director of business operations, said not a single junior high sport will be canceled this fall due to low participation numbers.
Passarge also said the participation numbers for this fall are down a little bit from last fall, but the school district is still accepting athletes who register and pay fees by Aug. 1. The previous deadline was June 29, which was more than two weeks earlier than the deadline last summer.
According to Passarge, the seventh grade football team at Lakota Ridge Junior School is in jeopardy of being consolidated with its eighth grade football team if participation numbers don’t increase by the new deadline.
Junior high girls’ and boys’ golf teams will continue to play together at the same tournaments, but against their same gender for the second consecutive fall. Also, the Lakota Ridge and Lakota Plains junior highs will combine its girls’ tennis teams for the second straight fall.
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From the 2010-2011 school year to 2011-2012, fall athletic participation fell 14 percent at the junior high level largely due raised pay-to-play fees. Furthermore, the decrease in participation would have been greater if not for an increase in 7th grade and 8th grade cheerleaders – from 78 in 2010-11 to 106 in 2011-12.
Overall, the increased fees – from $200 in 2010-11 to $350 per sport, per athlete in 2011-12 – led to a drop off in fall student athletes from 753 participants in 2010-11 to 644 in 2011-12.
Last fall, while participation on the 8th grade football cheerleading squad grew 38 percent, the overall participation on the 8th grade football team fell 32 percent (from 168 student athletes in 2010-11 to 114 in 2011-2012).
Also last fall, in other sports, like boys’ cross country (down 46 percent), girls’ cross country (down 37 percent), girls’ golf (down 41 percent) and girls tennis (down 23 percent) all saw substantial losses in their participation numbers.
Official participation numbers for the 2012-13 fall sports season will not be known until Aug. 1.
To sign up for a junior high sport, students can visit the Lakota Central Office, 5572 Princeton Road, in Liberty Township or register and pay online on the athletics page on lakotaonline.com through EZPay.
If a student athlete fails to make a team, a full refund will be given a few weeks after final rosters are set.