Co-op teams take MA

Posted: April 14, 2015

Minnehaha looks at benefits of co-oping with other schools’ sports

Friday nights next fall will be different for students. Minnehaha Academy has decided to create a new football team with St. Paul Academy, Blake and Hope Academy (see right). This new team was put into effect April 1.
Cooperation sponsorship, commonly referred to as co-op, is one of the many tasks head athletic director Homar Ramirez has to put together.
“Sustainability is the first thing we look for,” said Ramirez.
Even if you are not someone who participates in sports, co-op is a big part of Minnehaha because many sport teams are combined with other schools. Next fall for football you will find yourself cheering with SPA and Blake fans, not against them.
Many tasks emerge in the effort to make cooperation sponsorship teams work. There are many components to be figured and it’s all on the athletic directors’ plates. With all the different schools there are more directors, more students and more parents, which means even more people to please. Ramirez deals with all these tasks.
“There is more work,” Ramirez said. “You have the state high school league component, your own conference component, and then you have the communication component. That does make it more complex.”
All these added tasks instead of solely Minnehaha yet Ramirez accepts it all willingly. One component is choosing which schools to combine with for a team. Minnehaha does prefer to be the head school, so then Ramirez will be able to interview and choose the team’s coach.
The schools chosen are usually ones in similar situations, but those schools need to have similar core values to ours, Ramirez said. A good rule of thumb is usually to consider schools in Minnehaha’s IMAC conference. Then, with the schools decided, where to practice and play games and team’s color can be determined.
“There is no situation that does not come without issues,” Ramirez said. “All of them thankfully have been issues that we have been able to resolve.”
One advantage would be the costs. With many schools included, a team’s expenses can be split, lowering costs for each school. Another advantage is that, a larger number of students, both JV and varsity teams can be formed, so it does not end up that a freshman is against a senior, lets say, in a football game. It helps with safety measures.
With many schools, it can bring more fans to games and the atmosphere is full of excitement with more students. It calls schools together to cheer for that team that they share, so it’s not always competitive toward each other.
“I enjoy them because you can meet a lot of new people,” sophomore hockey player Ellen Seibel said,”it is kind of like a refresher because you do not see your same school friends everyday.”
Students themselves play a big part in the beginning of starting a new team.
Still, creating co-op teams isn’t the primary goal.
“Co-op at Minnehaha we see that as a stopgap, an intermediate step, because we want to be solely MA,” Ramirez explained. “But at the same time if we have students that have a passion for a specific sport that we have offered, then we do not want to ‘pull the rug underneath them’.”
Students may play a sport outside of the school’s teams because it is not offered, but then that sport may be considered to be added if many students do have the passion for that one sport. Minnehaha wants to offer what the students want but there is more of a process beneath just the fact that the students want it.
As a high school with strong core values, it comes down to those core values and the students. The process of cooperative sponsorship adds many tasks and more work for many people included, but it comes down to the students.
“It’s more work to have, creates more issues and takes more time,” Ramirez said,”but at the end of the day, you guys are worth it.”

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