Cuts policy established for THS sports
Coaches at Tonganoxie High have a new option when it comes to managing their rosters.
Not every THS coach will put it to use, but if they want to or need to, school policy now allows coaches to cut players from their teams.
A no-cuts policy at the school had been in place since before athletics director Brandon Parker arrived at Tonganoxie as a volleyball coach. Entering his 10th year of involvement at THS, the AD said the change for this academic year was necessary.
Parker also said the move was natural, as a lot of schools make cuts, but budget reasons are really what brought it about. Each team needs to have a functional coach to player ratio and with some assistant coaching positions being dropped, the district’s administrative team deemed allowing roster cuts was the next logical step.
Thus far, Parker said, there haven’t been many complaints.
“We told the kids this was the way it was going to be just so they’d be aware,” he said.
With fall sports more than a week into practice, Tonganoxie coaches for boys soccer, cross country, football and volleyball said they had no definitive plans for making cuts in order to trim a roster.
Chieftains football coach Mark Elston, however, said his staff will take advantage of the new policy. And even though football is a numbers game, as in the more the merrier, the coach said that doesn’t mean cuts won’t be made.
“We probably will use it,” Elston said. “We haven’t had to use it but it’s a good tool for us.”
If anyone is cut from the football team, the coach said, it will be because of a player failing to do what is asked of him — in the classroom or on the practice field. It gives THS football coaches the chance to use cuts as a disciplinary tool and say: You haven’t lived up to our standards, so we don’t need you on the team.
“It is a good policy, in my opinion, to have,” Elston said. “Normally we don’t turn players away, but we do have that opportunity.”
For other THS fall sports coaches, having that option doesn’t mean it will be utilized.
Boys soccer coach Brian Kroll said, ideally, he would have 34 players to comprise the program’s varsity and junior varsity rosters. But with 27 players practicing, and doing so with vigor, Kroll didn’t think cuts would be an issue for the team.
Nor are they necessary for the cross country team, coach Phil Williams said. Dealing with a large number of cross country athletes, he said, usually isn’t a problem.
“There are seven (varsity) people on a cross country team, but most meets allow an unlimited number to compete in the JV division,” Williams explained. “All our kids will get to compete every meet, so we can handle very large numbers of kids in cross country.”
Overflowing roster numbers, though, can be a problem in a sport such as volleyball, THS co-coach Parker said. In past years, Tonganoxie’s junior varsity team has had as many as 18 players on it, and Parker said that is just too much.
Although no cuts have been made, those students who showed interest in the team a few days after practice began were turned away.
“You’ve got to have numbers where kids can advance their skills,” the coach said.
Ideally, he added, there would be 10 to 12 players on each volleyball roster — the varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. However, Parker said, the freshman team likely will slightly exceed that margin this year as the staff has decided against cuts on that particular team. The reasoning? Coaches didn’t want being cut to be the first high school experience for somebody.
“We’re choosing right now not to cut freshmen,” Parker said. “But at the same time, we’re going to have to be real honest with them that not everybody’s going to play.”
That option may not sound ideal for an athlete. But, as Parker said, the alternative isn’t too attractive for coaches either.
“No coach likes to have to cut,” he said. “There is nothing fun about that. It’ll probably be the least enjoyable part of the job.”