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.