At Monday night's Wetzel County Board of Education meeting, Lesley Lively and Rick Duffield both stood before the board and voiced their concerns in regards to the two-sport policy that is enacted at Wetzel County Schools, specifically Valley High School.
Lively spoke of last year's experiences with two separate athletes participating in both track and baseball. He said that after two days of both baseball and track practices, one athlete approached him and said he couldn't do both sports and would choose baseball. Lively said he respects what this student did, as now they are attending West Virginia Wesleyan and playing baseball there.
The other student, Lively said, came half of the time to track practice, would leave early to attend baseball practices, missed track meets, and the story didn't get any better. Finally, Lively states, the kid left track, saying he had been mistreated.
Lively says that coaches need kids to be 100 percent, as only giving 50 percent does not do anyone any good. He added, "High school isn't about sports; it's about making an education." By allowing students to only give 50 percent, Lively asked, "What are we teaching them?"
Although the coaches voted to end the two-sport policy, they were told they still have to abide by it. Lively stated the track coaches have a combined 50 years of experience and they will not put a kid on the field if the kid is not in good shape.
Duffield then spoke to the board, asking them how an athlete can play at two different places at once? Duffield told the board that those involved in the decision-making process regarding the two-sport policy have listened to a one-sided minority. He said that track and baseball both teach different skills, and baseball games are scheduled every day because of rain-outs.
Duffield said that the new so-called "plan of action" has not been shared with the coaches at Valley. He said it was a new rule enforced by former Superintendent Bill Jones and VHS Principal Benjamin McPherson, as the coaches voted for not having two sports. Duffield repeated Lively's concerns, saying if an athlete has not been properly trained and conditioned in a sport, then the coach cannot let them participate. He finished by saying, "It is not negotiable. We cannot justify the decision to let an athlete participate."
President Mike Blair said the board would look into the matter.