Wiscasset high school students may be given the opportunity to play varsity football for Boothbay Region High School after the recent approval of a cooperative athletic agreement between the Wiscasset School Department and AOS 98.
The Wiscasset School Committee voted 4-1 on Thursday, April 28 to authorize Athletic Director Nate Stubbert to move forward with a cooperative athletic agreement with BRHS.
Wiscasset School Committee Chair Steve Smith was the only opposing vote; he expressed concern that a football program would draw athletes away from soccer, and negatively affect Wiscasset’s soccer team.
The idea for the arrangement came from brainstorming how to support students and athletics, Stubbert said. According to Stubbert, he has been approached by several students interested in playing football.
Wiscasset students do have the ability to play football with Lincoln County Football, but it is a club sport, and not the same experience as playing on a varsity team, Stubbert said.
Stubbert was joined by BRHS football coach Bryan Dionne and Athletic Director Allan Crocker at the school committee meeting. BRHS is the smallest school in Maine with a football program, Dionne said, and the numbers of football players on the team are declining.
Currently Boothbay plays in the class D south division, which would not change due to a cooperative athletic agreement with Wiscasset for football. If the two schools were to enter into a cooperative athletic agreement for soccer, with Wiscasset accepting Boothbay students onto its soccer team, the soccer program’s division would change, Stubbert said.
Transportation is incorporated into the cooperative agreement, with Boothbay agreeing to bus Wiscasset students from the Wiscasset Fire Department to Boothbay for practices on the days Boothbay’s vocational bus comes in from Bath.
Wiscasset would arrange transportation from the middle high school to the fire station. Wiscasset students would be responsible for their own transportation home, Stubbert said. For away games, Boothbay would pick Wiscasset students up.
“It’s not perfect, but Boothbay is absorbing all the costs,” Stubbert said. In exchange, Wiscasset would allow Boothbay access to its track and allow it to keep the revenue from games, he said.
In order to enter into a cooperative athletic agreement, an application must be approved by the Maine Principal’s Association. If approved, Wiscasset students will have the option to play football in Boothbay in the fall.
The experience of playing football underneath the lights on Friday night is an exciting one that will contribute to students’ high school experience, Dionne said. “We create a real family,” he said.