Over the last few years more schools have formed cooperative teams. This gives smaller schools a chance to continue to compete even though they may not have enough to form their own team.
The Maine Principals Association says there are rules governing the formation of coop teams.
Durost:”Cooperative teams in team sports requires a six month notice in terms of applying for approval through this office. It has to have the school board minutes reflect that both schools approve of it. They have to have a plan for working out the coaching aspect of it where they are going to do their practicing and all those things.”
There are several cooperative hockey teams in the state including Houlton Hodgdon. This past year Old Town and Orono formed a coop team because they did not enough players to compete on their own. Greater Houlton Christian Academy and East Grand formed cooperative baseball and softball teams this past year and that was very successful for the two small schools. Durost says the MPA wants to give as many student athletes as possible a chance to compete
Durost:”I think our management committee has been more open to looking at ways to keep kids involved and keep sports alive. They recognize what declining enrollment and declining resources and why the cooperative team approach has become more viable.”
Both school boards have to agree to the cooperative team and the team name has to reflect both teams
Durost:” You add the two enrollments together just like you were creating a brand new third school. Wherever those enrollment figures place that school that is class they will be competing in.”
Some small Island Schools have already formed cooperative teams and Durost thinks that as enrollment continues to decline. More schools could look at this option.
Durost:” I think in many of the more rural parts of the State as schools look to keep programs going and not take opportunities away from kids there may be some next door rivals that will see this as a way keep kids involved