New Hampton School Board says enough is enough when it comes to NEIC school's sportmanship
The New Hampton School Board drew the proverbial line in the sand Monday night when it comes to the lack of sportsmanship shown by a Northeast Iowa Conference member.
Board members directed New Hampton Superintendent Jay Jurrens to explore options with other NEIC superintendents on how to deal with Waverly-Shell Rock, the conference’s largest school that came under fire earlier this summer when racial comments were used to taunt a Charles City African-American player.
Jurrens did say those racist comments could have happened anywhere, but that the issue has been ongoing when it comes to sportsmanship and the fact that he believes Waverly-Shell Rock administrators have not addressed the issue with its students and its fans.
“They have no problem attacking individuals on the field,” he told board members, “and it’s a question of values. They look at is as the ‘Sixth Man,’ ‘the 12th Man’ type of thing like colleges have. But this is high school sports and there’s no place for that.”
Board members agreed.
“We keep talking about this, it comes up once, twice a year,” Matthews said, “and my honest opinion now is that we stand up and fix this problem or stop talking about it.”
Board President Joe Rosonke was even more direct.
“We need to pursue this,” he said, “and slide them out of the conference.”
Since the NEIC began crowning a “sportsmanship champion” in 2008, Waverly-Shell Rock has finished last in the league’s sportsmanship ratings every year although standings haven’t been released either for the 2018-19 or 2019-20 school years.
Jurrens did tell board members that under the NEIC constitution, there’s no way to “remove” a team from the league, so board members told him they wanted him to pursue other options for New Hampton and to discuss those options with the conference superintendents at a meeting that is scheduled to be held Tuesday.
The NEIC was formed in 1920 and is one of the oldest high school conferences in the state and currently has seven members. The league has had as many as 10 teams and as few as six. But it will drop to six in 2021 when Oelwein departs for the North Iowa Cedar League.
Despite the fact New Hampton is among the three schools — Crestwood and Decorah are the others — who have been members of the conference since its inception, the School Board collectively said “enough is enough” during Monday’s meeting.
“I don’t know if we’ve done enough to put pressure on them to shape up or leave,” Board Member Damian Baltes said, “but I think we need to see real change or else find something else."