The Maine Principals Association has seen an increase in the number of cooperative team applications this year. Mke Burnham of the MPA says he thinks a change in the enrollment formula is giving more youngsters a chance to compete in a sport that may not be offered by their schools.
Mike Burnham:"We have noticed an increase in most of our activities. Going with the percentage of the enrollment instead of the full enrollment for the schools joining the cooperative teams has made a difference. When classification isn't impacted I think the schools are having more conversations and we are seeing an increase in the number of teams being sponsored."
There have been cooperative teams in this area in the past, Houlton Hodgdon, SAHS and Katahdin have a cooperative hockey team. Presque Isle, Caribou and MSSM formed a swim team. This year Hodgdon and Greater Houlton Christian Academy students are able to play football with Houlton, Caribou and Presque Isle formed a cooperative golf team because of smaller numbers at both schools. Burnham says cooperative agreements are very beneficial to student athletes.
Burnham:"I think some of the smaller schools that don't have the student population to support a program now are able to give those kids by joining with a neighboring school that does offer it."
Schools that wish to form a cooperative team have to apply to the MPA three months before that start of the season. There has also been a change to who will approve the application.
Burnham:" One of the changes with the cooperative policy is that now each individual sport committee has the authority to approve those applications."