Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Students and parents at Thunder Mountain High School talked about concerns they have about the merger of their football team with Juneau Douglas Tuesday night.
While most were in support, students asked that the team's mascot, name and colors be merged. Possibilities would be the Crimson Falcons or Thunder Bears. Several TMHS Students said it is an issue of identity and keeping students engaged in the football program.
Parent Michelle Strickler voiced opposition to the merger, that was approved by the Alaska High School Activities Association. She said Thunder Mountain has a larger football program, a larger student body, and has been more successful on the field over the past few years. She said Thunder Mountain also has done a better job of fund raising with $96,000 raised over the past three years compared to JDHS $90,000.
Strickler also alleged that JDHS spends more per student, roughly $1,200 for co curricular activities while TMHS receives roughly $675. "This huge disparity demands explanation and action," she added.
The District said it had discussed the merger for the past several years due to rising travel costs and budget deficits. They note fewer kids are coming out to play football which forces them to play younger players against more experienced players, which can lead to injury.
The Board also discussed the possibility of using 7 on 7 or 8 on 8 football teams which might encourage smaller schools in the region to bring back football.
A committee to cover the transition has been formed and is expected to address many of issues raised like coaching staffs, location of games, administrators in control, etc.