A discussion about whether to allow a sixth grader to play 7th-8th grade basketball dominated much of last Monday’s Board of Education meeting.
Erica and Fred Ayers requested that their son, who will be in the sixth grade at Oceana Middle this fall, be permitted to play with the 7th and 8th grade team instead of the 5th and 6th grade squad.
Moving up, they indicated, would help his development as a basketball player.
They noted that he had started on the 5-6 team when he was a fourth grader
Johnny Maynard, the OMS 7-8 coach, said he was in favor of allowiing the player move up.
He said some neighboring counties had grade 6-7-8 configurations for junior high/middle school and wanted to play a 6-7-8 game and a JV contest.
In most years, he said, Class A teams were not challenged by the county’s Class B teams.
Perry Cook, a former board member, said boys who wanted to play 6th grade hoops, which has a fall season, “have to make a choice” if they want to play football also.
Board Member Mike Davis asked what would fifth graders do if sixth graders were allowed to play with seventh and eighth graders.
Cook said Biddy Buddy was an alternative and that some played AAU instead of Biddy Buddy.
Board Member Allan Stiltner observed that bringing a player up to higher level sometimes causes problems.
Davis indicated that the board would have to get input from principals before making a decision.
Several board members said they understood the position of the parents.
“Don’t be discouraged,” Davis said. He said a decision on the matter would be made soon.
The board had more discussion later.
Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Schools Deidre Cline said she felt having a 5th-6th grade team “helps kids find a niche in school.”
She indicated that, when she was principal at Pineville Middle, the teams sometimes had to travel if the coaches wanted better competiton.
The board asked Mrs. Cline to contact schools in neighboring counties to see how the issue is being handled.
She was also asked to get the principals views on the specific case in question and whether the student should be allowed to move up.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.