Trumansburg will be forced to sit out the 2014 varsity football season because of a shortage of players.
Michael McGuire, superintendent for the Trumansburg Central School District, confirmed Thursday night that the team had only 13 eligible players when the decision was made Wednesday to drop football for this season. New York state teams are required to have at least 16 players for each game.
“We had a meeting (Wednesday) afternoon and talked to the players and they were of course greatly disappointed,” McGuire said. “But I think people understand the challenges.”
McGuire said John Dunlap resigned as varsity football coach in early July, which left the program without a coach for a portion of the summer. Steve Murray was named head coach before the season and 22 students showed up for a team meeting.
“By the time we got down to the first practice the numbers were down significantly and the numbers dropped off after a few days (of practice),” McGuire said.
He said the plan is to have varsity football again at Trumansburg in 2015.
“We definitely value football,” he said. “We plan to regroup this fall. We’re going to take a good look at it.”
Trumansburg will still field a modified A team this season, with 22 players in grades 7-9 coming out for that team. The possibility of bringing up freshmen from the modified to fill out the varsity roster was discussed and dismissed.
“We did talk about it and our conclusion was that with such low numbers on varsity, and with students probably having to play both offense and defense for much of the game, to put ninth-graders into that program would probably really weaken the modified and wouldn’t be a good thing for those freshmen,” McGuire said. “We believe it was a safety issue.”
McGuire said the possibility of waiting into next week to see if more players came out was also discussed, but the plug was pulled this week largely out of consideration for the teams on the Blue Raiders’ schedule. Trumansburg, a Class C school that had a 1-8 record last season, was scheduled to play in Division V of the Section 4 Football Conference.
Odessa-Montour was set to host Trumansburg in the season opener Sept. 5 and O-M head coach Bob Lee was told Thursday by athletic director Skip Strobel that the Blue Raiders wouldn’t be able to field a team.
“We have to find out whether we can get a replacement or not. We just don’t know,” Lee said. “We just found out.”
Other teams scheduled to play Trumansburg this season were Candor, Lansing, Watkins Glen, Waverly, Dryden, Moravia and Thomas A. Edison.
Two years ago players from Newfield were part of Trumansburg’s varsity team. Newfield had only modified football last season and is playing at the varsity level again this fall. Any decisions on merging teams had to be made by July 1, so it is not possible for Trumansburg players to join the team at Newfield or anywhere else.
Pine Valley, a Class D team in Section 6, called off its season earlier this week because of a lack of players. Two years ago Edison’s season ended after only two games after it was down to 11 players and last year Elmira Notre Dame was forced to forfeit its opener because of a lack of eligible players.