MADELIA — A couple of years ago, a large number of girls at Madelia decided not to play basketball, and activities director Paul Carpenter feared that might become a problem in the future.
This week, Carpenter said that Madelia will cancel its varsity and junior varsity girls basketball teams for this season because of low participation. Carpenter said this is only a one-year decision and hopes to have all of the teams competing again next season.
“There’s a lot of disappointment, from the administration and the coaching staff,” Carpenter said. “People don’t understand why students wouldn’t take the opportunity to participate in a winter activity. It’s not healthy when a large number of students aren’t participating in the activities.”
Carpenter said that about 20 students in grades 8-12 had signed up last month to participate in girls basketball, but at Monday’s first practice, only three players that were in the program last season — one junior and two freshmen — showed up.
“For several years, we haven’t had a strong program,” Carpenter said. “I can only speculate that (the girls) didn’t want go though another season of lopsided competition.”
Madelia was 5-21 last season and is 13-90 in the last four seasons, and the volleyball team is coming off a 0-27 season.
Carpenter said he’s hoping to have a C squad for the girls who want to play. He said that there will be a full seventh- and eighth-grade schedule.
But now, he’s in the process of undoing the work that has been done. He’s already contacted the Section 2 and Valley Conference officials and nonconference opponents to tell them of the decision. He said he’s also been contacting game officials, who already have contracts, and support staff.
Carpenter said that Madelia didn’t consider looking for a co-op but would prefer to fix the problem from within the school. He will continue to build a schedule for next season, hoping the numbers improve.
“The fallout from this is more than a student can understand,” Carpenter said. “It’s not a good look for the program. We’re going to do what we can for the students that want to play.”
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.