Novato High plans to drop varsity football: Will it become a trend?

“Citing a low number of interested juniors and seniors, Novato High School — once a Bay Area football powerhouse — has decided not to field a varsity football team in 2017, a move that must be approved by the league,” according to the Marin Independent Journal.

(It comes amid a general decline in youth participation in football, partly brought on by more widely publicized concerns about concussions in America’s favorite sport).

“In his email, obtained by the Independent Journal, Principal Matt Baldwin said assistant coaches reached out to parents of upperclassmen to gauge interest in football this fall, but the response was weak. For safety reasons, the frosh/soph team will remain at the lower level, he said.

“One reason for low turnout, cited by Baldwin and coach Jason Searle, is the lack of players moving on from the town’s youth teams to Novato. As the name may suggest, many players from San Marin Youth Football and Cheer’s various football teams go on to play for San Marin — Novato’s crosstown rival — though they are allowed to attend either high school. Novato and San Marin each had their own Pop Warner teams until about nine years ago.

“’I definitely think concussion concerns are another factor,” said coach Searl. “We’ve had dwindling numbers in the county for years. It’s not like it’s only happening in one area; it’s happening everywhere.’

“’It seems that statistically and nationwide, participation in football is dropping, even at the youth level, and I think that’s why a lot of our schools don’t have three levels (freshmen, JV, varsity),’ league Commissioner Susie Woodall said. ‘They’ve had a varsity team since 1958, so this is extremely sad for the Novato community.’

“The Hornets — one of the most successful and storied programs in Marin County — have struggled the past two seasons, compiling a combined record of 7-14 (4-10 MCAL) after going 7-4 (6-1) in 2014. Once a perennial league powerhouse, Novato won four section titles from 2002-07 and reached the state championship game in December 2007.”

The rest of the article is here.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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2 Responses to Novato High plans to drop varsity football: Will it become a trend?

  1. I’m going to make a rough guess. SAT scores and number of student getting them, has been on the increase. Novato has transitioned from blue collar and military, to software and the like.

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