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No-Op: WIVC Member Schools veto proposed Routt/Lutheran Football Fusion (Addendum)

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A co-op with Springfield Lutheran was supposed to serve as the skeleton key that once and for all solved Routt Football's constant struggles filling out a competitive, adequately manned roster.

Their Conference Partners saw it differently, apparently.

KHQA has learned that the prosposed football fusion failed to garner the necessary seven "yes" votes to be ratified for play within the WIVC.

Five nay votes were the plans undoing: we are told from a source they came from North Greene, Pleasant Hill, Carrollton, Calhoun and Brown County.

Routt Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Heath Wilson tells us he was shocked by the vote and that he is now back at square one, with a roster that will be lucky to include 28 total football participants at all levels fo the program.

As to why the proposal was deep-sixed, Wilson referred us to the schools who voted no. He did tell us he had heard that other member schools thought the proposed Springfield Lutheran drawing area was too broad and talented an advantage for his program and was told "it was about getting five (wins) sic..." the minimum IHSA Qualifiying threshold for the playoffs.

Canvasing the landscape of other WIVC Schools, Central Athletic Director Matt Long, whose school voted to allow the co-op, that he would never vote down any opportunity to afford more kids the opportunity to participate in any sport; because that's what it means to be in it for the kids and not for more personal ends.

I've also heard alternatively from a source at a school that voted no that Routt lost the room with their presentation, that their numbers with potential enrollment didn't jibe and that if you crunched the number now, vesus 2005, when Routt was a playoff team that the metrics haven't really changed on campus as to the composition of the school; that it was on Routt to do a better job getting kids out like they did under Barry Creviston and Nate Graham. Also those coaches and ADs who voted no were uncomfortable affording Routt the largest recruiting base in the state to do so, by including Springfield Lutheran in the mix. There is also consternation about Routt jettisoning an existing co-op with Westfair Academy, in order for Routt to take on Lutheran. Heath Wilson addressed that criticism with me directly, saying that Westfair has basically afforded his program one player in the last four years and that the school's small enrollment (I was quoted 22 students) had no future prospects on the horizon for Rocket Football. I've heard from more than one coach opposed to the Lutheran/Routt merger that the Rockets cutting Westfair was in opposition to the their insistence of giving more kids an opportunity to play and "we need greater player influx to survive" mantra and more likely a game of Multiplier Calculus to keep Routt's small school classification into the future.

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I was able to reach Brown County Football Coach Tom Little late Wednesday Afternoon, whose school was among the five "no" votes to end the proposed Routt/Lutheran merger.

I asked Tom directly why he thought the co-op was a bad fit for the WIVC.

Little invoked his programs days as the "little dog" in the old WCC Conference and proudly cited a track record of success there fighting uphill, embracing that kind of challenge. But he intimated that this unioncould be something different, given the scope and potential drawing power of Lutheran. "That co-op could be the same size as Bloomington Central Catholic," suggesting such a football entity would not be in the WIVC's spirit; for much the same reason these same member schools wouldn't welcome in a Quincy Notre Dame.

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