Middle school hoops will have a new look in Wyoming County next year.
The Wyoming County Board of Education voted at its meeting on Monday night to change the model for middle school basketball to grades 6-8.
The board acted on a recommendation from the Elementary School Principals Association.
Wyoming County schools have followed a model for years with teams made up of grades 5-6 and 7-8.
Terri Smith, president of the Principals Association, said the change was motivated by declining enrollment.
Some schools did not have enough players to field a team, she noted, or had barely enough.
Glen Fork had no boys team in grades 7-8 this season.
“If you have less than 10 players, it’s hard to practice,” Smith said.
Fifth graders would play in Biddy Buddy, she indicated. “We wouldn’t want to leave anyone out,” she commented.
In the 6-8 model, schools with enough players would field junior varsity and varsity teams. It would follow the format used now by the high schools.
Smith said mosdt neighboring counties already use the 6-8 model.
Fewer teams would require fewer coaches, she pointed out, and would save the county money.
All of the principals present said they supported the change.
Superintendent of Schools Deirdre Cline said the principals “find every niche for students they can” and pointed to the growth of middle school sports in recent years to include cross country, softball, volleyball and other teams.
She recommended the change be approved.
Board Member Allan Stiltner suggested that all schools have signed contracts with officials. “It’s jut more professional,” he remarked.
The new model will go into effect in the 2017-18 season.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.