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The North Bend Eagle


Football co-op with NBC, Prague athletes' eligibility uncertain

by Nathan Arneal
Published 4/14/10

Last November North Bend Central and Prague agreed to co-op football this fall. Now with Prague closing its high school at the end of the current school year, that agreement is now up in the air.

NBC activities director and head football coach Tony Allgood held a meeting with prospective football players from Prague a few weeks ago, with nine potential players attending the meeting.

“They all seemed positive and receptive about things,” Allgood said. “We felt good about the way it went. Having talked to some of their parents, I think they felt the same way, but right now it’s just wait and see.”

The unknown future of the Prague district leaves the eligibility of its athletes up in the air. The deadline for students to option enroll in another school was March 15. Anyone who transfers after that date will be ineligible to play varsity sports at their new school for 90 days.

If Prague maintains its school district without a high school, the co-op agreement with North Bend would still be in effect, according to Nebraska School Activities Association Executive Director Jim Tenopir. This would allow players from the Prague district to play for North Bend without sitting out the 90 days.

“The football cooperative would continue to be in place unless Prague and North Bend Central were to jointly request that the cooperative sponsorship be dissolved,” Tenopir said. “If the cooperative sponsorship remains in effect, the Prague students would be immediately eligible for football with North Bend Central.”

However, the eligibility of Prague students who attend schools other than NBC, or play sports other than football, is unclear. If Prague has a district but no high school next year, it will contract its students to other schools, meaning Prague students would attend high school in another district with Prague paying a fee to the hosting district.

Tenopir said if this happens, the NSAA would have to decide what to do.

“Our bylaws do not address contracting,” Tenopir said. “Our bylaws address the situation concerning if Prague were to consolidate with another school or to dissolve their school (district) entirely. If Prague were to contract high school grades with another school, our Board would need to take formal action on that scenario.”
If Prague dissolves its district completely, former Prague students would be eligible immediately in whatever district inherits the land they live on, according to NSAA bylaw 2.7.2.

North Bend superintendant Jim Havelka said he hopes to see all Prague athletes immediately eligible to play for whatever school they end up attending.

“None of this was generated by kids or parents,” Havelka said. “What’s happened here is, due to circumstances dealing with land valuation and so forth, Prague is no longer in control of its own destiny as it once was. I don’t want to see those kids penalized.”

If Prague dissolves its district completely, or if it merges with East Butler a year earlier than planned, the football co-op agreement with North Bend would be null and void.

Without the co-op agreement, North Bend likely would have been in Class C-2 next season. Now, NBC will be in Class C-1 for the next two seasons whether it gets any players from Prague or not.

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