Bulldog athletes in limbo

Strike leaves the fate of Butte teams in opponents’ hands
2011-09-08T00:00:00Z Bulldog athletes in limboBy Pat Ryan of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
September 08, 2011 12:00 am  • 

With the Butte schools administrators’ strike entering its second day, and no end in sight, Butte High’s athletic programs are facing some difficult times.

The Bulldog football team was scheduled to play at Missoula Hellgate on Friday. Butte High’s soccer teams were to host Billings Senior on Friday and Billings West on Saturday. The Butte High golf team had been scheduled to compete in the Bozeman Invitational on Thursday, and the Bulldog volleyball team had been slated to compete in a tournament in Great Falls over the weekend.

As of Wednesday night, all events are officially canceled for the Bulldogs.

Butte High athletic director Chuck Merrifield, a member of the administrators union, and now on strike, deferred comment to Keith Miller, assistant principal at East Middle School and spokesman for the administrators.

“We were informed by Mr. (Pat) Fleming (school district legal counsel) that all schools are closed and all activities are canceled,” Miller said Wednesday evening. “We’re hopeful to come back to work as soon as possible.”

Miller said he didn’t know specifically how the Montana High School Association dealt with athletic issues dealing with strikes.

Mark Beckman, Executive Director of the MHSA, said Wednesday that Butte High’s fate in each event lies mainly in the hands of the Bulldogs’ opponents.

“It’s a forfeit, unless the other school or team decides that they want to reschedule,” Beckman said. “When (the strike) starts to last longer and longer it’s hard to make up.”

Beckman said that in the case of football, players are restricted to playing 10 quarters per week, and a team can’t play more than two games in a 48-hour period.

The Class AA football schedule has a solid schedule from its beginning through the playoffs, leaving mid-week makeup games as the only option. Whether Missoula Hellgate would allow its players to participate in two varsity games in a week is unknown.

The golf and volleyball tournaments will almost certainly not be rescheduled, though the football and soccer games might. In the case of soccer, Butte High will still play at Billings later in the season, and games could possibly be added during those road trips.

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(3) Comments

  1. what_the_F
    Report Abuse
    what_the_F - September 08, 2011 6:40 pm
    Merrifield should be the first to be fired. He is a pathetic excuse for athletic director! Tired of this nonsense of using sports as a pawn.
  2. Common Sense
    Report Abuse
    Common Sense - September 08, 2011 10:02 am
    What a steaming pile of you know what. These 15 administrators are gutless and greedy. They should all be fired!
  3. thommik1
    Report Abuse
    thommik1 - September 08, 2011 6:14 am
    Looks like athletics is being used as a lever to solve this situation when, in reality, the issue and concern should be over the loss of learning and teaching time. It's really a sad situation and a poor example being set as to how to solve problems. I'm sorry to see kids not being able to compete, but more sorry to see adults acting like children instead of using grown up techniques.

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