High school lacrosse players and their parents in Bremen High School District 228 just want one thing: a chance. The players want to take the field under the lights and compete against other high school teams, while the parents want a chance to cheer their children on at the varsity level.
But they can't—yet.
The District 228 board of education, so far, has not signed off on an emerging sports letter, which is required by the Illinois High School Association to compete in lacrosse at the high school level. Without the letter, high school level lacrosse players in D228 cannot play other teams in the state.
“We are now the only team without that waiver signed in the Chicago Southland,” said Oak Forest Park District Commissioner Joe Conway, who is helping to lead the charge to get lacrosse into D228. “In the Chicago Southland, western suburbs and northern suburbs, we are the only team without that waiver signed.
"Where does that leave this high school team we have? With nobody to play.”
District Superintendent Bill Kendall believes the letter could become a moot point in the near future, but Conway doubts it.
“That letter is not going away, not for a while,” Conway said.
The other issue district administrators have loudly voiced as a concern with lacrosse is the cost the district could incur from the sport. However, Conway said that families and players interested in high school level lacrosse have that covered.
“What we're offering to the district is a fully functioning, up-and-running program, at no cost to them,” he said. “We can fund this thing, we are funding this thing, it's a pay-to-play sport. We wouldn't need one red cent from the district."
Players could expect to pay around $350 per year—a cost that would cover all the costs of a season-long schedule. The costs would cover everything from playing fields to travel, and everything in between, Conway said.
Though it took some time, the lacrosse group might finally be making some headway with the district. The group presented a plan to run the program to the district at its finance committee meeting Feb. 12.
Although no votes were cast, Conway said the group appealed to the committee to at least put a move to sign the emerging sports letter on the board of education's next meeting agenda.
Although no guarantee was given one way or the other, Conway said it was a positive meeting and a step towards their goal.
“We're hopeful,” Conway said. “We just want them to give us a chance to prove that we can do what we way we're going to do."
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