Created: January 07, 2020 11:40 PM
MECHANICVILLE - The Mechanicville City School District is taking steps toward merging their football team with Hoosic Valley's team.
Lower participation rates at both schools over the past several years led to the discussion.
On Tuesday night, the Mechanicville Board of Education approved further negotiations in merging the two football teams.
Hoosic Valley approached Mechanicville in late November with the proposal. If they agree to combine the teams for the 2020 fall season, the contract needs to be finalized and submitted to Section II of the NYSPHSAA by February 1.
On Monday, Mechanicville City School District Superintendent Bruce Potter said about 60 students, parents, faculty and staff attended a meeting to discuss the potential merger.
"Overwhelmingly everyone thought it was positive, including the student athletes,” Potter said. “We just want to play football."
Mechanicville community members did have some preliminary conditions though. First, they want the team to only practice on Mechanicville's campus. Second, they want to play their "home" games on their brand-new exhibition field. Third, they want all current coaches to remain on staff.
Potter said the first two conditions need to be discussed with Hoosic Valley officials, but the coaching staff will remain untouched as they've already been budgeted for in the 2020 school year.
Others were concerned about additional equipment and uniform costs.
"We have the equipment. Not to say that will have to make decisions about uniform or reconditioning some equipment but it wouldn't be anything that would preclude moving forward,” Potter said. “There's no major purchases that need to be made."
This would not be the first time Mechanicville merged teams with another school. That's led to some concern about confusion as to which school’s teams are merged with whose.
"We already merged with Stillwater in wrestling and we will be starting in the spring in lacrosse. But they have a healthy [football] program, they are not in as urgent need as Hoosic Valley,” Potter said. “Hoosic Valley has asked us and that's where were at so that's the decision to be made."
Potter said now that the school board has approved further negotiations they're up against the clock.
“We’ll see but I'm optimistic because we're going to do what's best for the kids,” Potter said.
The next step will be contacting coaches from both districts to work out specifics. After that they'll hold a meeting for community members to weigh in as well.
Copyright 2020 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company