LOUISVILLE – Louisville students will be able to represent their school on golf courses and baseball fields starting in the 2022-2023 school year.
Louisville Board of Education members voted unanimously to sponsor boys’ golf and baseball at their December meeting. Ashley Christiansen, Kara Habrock, Andy Mixan, Cindy Osterloh, Jon Simon and John Winkler have approved a motion to add the two spring sports to the following school year. They felt that this would give enough time to sort out issues such as scheduling, equipment, uniforms and transportation.
Louisville operations director Clint Little said district officials had spent time reviewing proposals for both sports. He said they concluded that the activities would be positive additions to the school.
“We believe boys’ golf and baseball can be viable in Louisville based on three years of surveys of our students, community interest and the growing population of our school,” Little said. .
Little presented the results of his research to board members at a special meeting in early December. A student survey found that 31 teens would be interested in going out to play baseball in the spring of 2023, and 21 students would be interested in trying golf in the same year. The spring 2024 numbers were 29 for baseball and 20 for men’s golf, and the spring 2025 interest rate was 38 for baseball and 25 for golf.
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The survey found that 22 students would likely leave the track and field program to pursue either baseball or golf in 2023. Little said about 13 to 16 boys who are not currently in track and field would be interested in one or more. the other is new sports.
Board members learned of the estimated start-up costs for the two programs. Variables include training, equipment, transportation, officials, and tournament fees. The cost of baseball could also be reduced if the district engages in a cooperative with another school.
The estimated cost for baseball would be $ 20,000 to $ 23,000 the first year and $ 15,000 to $ 17,000 each year thereafter. The estimated cost of golf for boys would be $ 18,500 to $ 22,000 in the first year and $ 12,000 to $ 15,000 each year thereafter.
The Louisville baseball program would use the city-owned Ash Grove Ball complex for games and practice. The Louisville / Weeping Water American Legion team and the Cass Wildcats co-op softball program both use the facility during their seasons, summer and fall.
“For baseball, right now we would be a Louisville-only baseball program,” Little said. “However, a cooperative could potentially happen. As for the shirts and the equipment, the plan will be to have everything in place before the end of 2022 so we are ready for the spring of 2023. “
The district has spoken to Grandpa’s Woods and Quarry Oaks golf courses about the possibility of using their facilities. Grandpa’s Woods currently hosts golf events for girls and boys in Elmwood-Murdock in the fall and spring.
“For boys’ golf, there have been conversations with several golf courses, and we are waiting to finalize details on tournaments, duels, triangulars and practice accommodations,” said Little.
Louisville does not have a fall girls’ golf program. Little said that girls who would like to play golf could join the boys’ golf team in the spring.
Little provided school board members with a detailed analysis of Title IX compliance. Title IX includes the three prongs of proportionality, expansion opportunities and accommodating interests.
Little said the addition of girls ‘wrestling as a team sport this winter and the boys’ lack of participation in fall activities has resulted in an under-representation of athletic opportunities for boys. Boys made up 55.4% of the school’s enrollment in 2021-2022, but boys had 52.7% of the school’s athletic opportunities that year.
Little said the survey showed students expressed the greatest interest in boys’ baseball and golf. Women’s soccer and women’s golf were third and fourth on the list.
Louisville will join several other Nebraska Capitol Conference schools that offer sports. Arlington and DC West each have stand-alone baseball programs. Fort Calhoun and Cornerstone Christian have a co-op baseball team and Ashland-Greenwood and Yutan combine with Mead for the Platte Valley program. Raymond Central and Malcolm have a co-op baseball program called Branched Oak.
Arlington, Ashland-Greenwood, DC West, Fort Calhoun, Logan View, Syracuse and Yutan currently offer boys’ golf.
Little will begin work on organizing schedules for the two sports. Other schools have already completed their calendars for the current school year, but they could start scheduling dates and times with Louisville for the 2023 golf and baseball seasons.