Date Capstone Completed


Document Type

Capstone Paper

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Leadership Education: Sport Management


Educational Leadership


Theresa Waterbury


Winona, Minnesota


Nothing brings a small rural town together like high school sports. Unfortunately, when high school sports hit challenging times, support for programs and participation in programs decrease. When sports programs hit low numbers in participation they need to think about the program's future. Some schools consider eliminating the programs. Graves (2010) stated that communities often resist full school consolidation to be able to protect their sports teams. Graves (2010) believes that to lose a school and its colors would relinquish one’s identity. Small communities thrive off the school districts and take pride in their academics and athletics. With the lack of student athlete numbers, it endangers the future of the athletic programs for many rural school districts. Full school consolidation might not be the answer for some rural schools but consolidating athletic programs have kept the dreams for small school districts alive.

In the year 1982, Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association also known as the WIAA, approved an amendment to the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Eligibility permitting cooperative teams (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, 2007). A cooperative program is defined as two or more member schools forming a single team in a sport (Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, n.d.). This opportunity gives schools districts to stay separate entities in buildings and academics but can give opportunities to school districts to consolidate athletics to become one also known as a cooperative team. The change of turning two programs into one is often scary for all parties involved, but with the change obstacles, advantages and disadvantages emerge.



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