Keith Sinor just wanted a timeout for his football programs.
In their third try, the Oklahoma City Public Schools administration gained independence for the U.S. Grant and Capitol Hill football programs for four seasons after Sinor, the OKCPS athletic director, and superintendent Dr. Karl Springer presented a detailed plan to rebuild the programs over the next five years at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association's regular board of directors meeting on Wednesday.
“We just need a timeout,” Sinor told the board. “We need a chance to build these programs.”
The plan, which was approved unanimously by the board, entails in-depth program building beginning at the middle school level, something that hasn't always had strong continuity at the two south OKC schools.
The programs will become independent for the 2014 season. U.S. Grant and Capitol Hill will honor all of their games for the 2013 season, then be allowed to create their own schedules for the following four seasons before returning to OSSAA district play.
That will allow them to play similar competition and teams from smaller classes with comparable participation numbers.
“We came back to them with the plan of how we were going to execute the success of those two programs,” Sinor said.
This was Sinor's third appearance before the board asking for independence, with the first two proposals being turned down. But the depth of the new plan, which came with input from the OSSAA staff, made the difference Wednesday.
“We've seen big advancement from where we started with this,” board member Bill Denton, the Yukon superintendent, told Sinor. “It shows full support of the administration of your school district.”
As part of the plan, the two teams will not be replaced in their districts for the 2014-17 seasons, meaning one district in Class 6A and one in 5A will have one fewer team than the other districts. But no football teams will be required to move up in classification to fill those spots.
The expectation of OKCPS is that the schedule changes will help the teams to build interest and involvement from high school and middle school students, with the hope of keeping them active throughout their high school years — a common problem for the programs currently.
“We have a concerted effort at the middle school level,” Sinor said. “We've got to start giving those kids the help and instruction they need through coaching, camps and clinics, that once they enter high school, they're on the same starting level as their counterparts in the suburban areas.”
“I'm just thankful for the OSSAA's help. I'm excited about the future.”