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Friday, October 3, 2014

 

Odessa-Montour cancels remainder of season

The Odessa-Montour Indians have canceled the remainder of their season due to low numbers.  Teams are required to carry at least 16 players on the roster to be eligible to play.  Section IV Chairman Dave Garbarino confirmed O-M's season cancellation on Friday.  The Indians were scheduled to host Groton on Friday night, but were forced to forfeit for the second time and electing to bring the season to a halt, officially finishing with an 0-6 record.

Odessa-Montour is the second school to cancel the season this year, joining Trumansburg which canceled it's season prior to Week One, also due to low numbers.  The same issue brought an end to Edison's season two seasons ago.  This once again brings to the forefront, a way to solve the problems of smaller schools roster size becoming an issue.

Several teams have merged programs, for example this year Harpusville/Afton and Unatego/Franklin.  But across the country, there are states that play 7-on-7 or 8-on-8 football in the smaller classes.  Why not New York?  When you look at a teams like U-E, Binghamton, Vestal, etc, there's no reason to not play 11-on-11 as the roster runs 40-50 deep.  But, as evidence by O-M and T'burg, small schools are lucky to crack 20.  Even Chenango Valley, a Class B school has a roster with less than 25 kids.

At some point the issue may be raised at the state level to move to 7-on-7 or 8-on-8 for Class D, especially.  Not only could this make the game faster paced and more interesting, as many Class D teams run the ball exclusively gaining two yards at a time across an 8 minute drive, but it will also allow teams to actually play games and cut down on the number of forfeits.  Student-Athletes should not be penalized for the school's inability to field a team.  It's not always the school's fault either, though.  Schools pride themselves in providing an option of sports for kids to play and in the fall the student population has the choice of football, soccer, cross country, golf, tennis (for girls - boys in the spring).  So it's no wonder that with several options, roster sizes in small schools are, well, small.  As more and more teams are faced with this issue, it will no longer be an anomaly, but more likely the norm, leading school administrations to pressure the state to make changes, which this broadcaster hopes are on the way shortly.

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