South Eugene High School has announced it won’t be fielding a tackle football team for competition this fall.
In a letter to families last week, South’s administration said there has been “a marked downturn” in students expressing interest in the sport and said some of the declining interest is pegged on health considerations caused by the ongoing threat of COVID-19. The letter also pointed to “job prospects, time commitments, and intense interest in other fall athletic opportunities at South” that play a role in the waning participation in the football program.
While there will be no tackle football competitions for the Axe, students will still be able to participate in organized practices. School officials say this will allow for skill-building and team connections.
The letter sent to families cited an overall decline in football participation across the country in the last decade. South’s administration said they “remain committed to fostering a strong program in the years ahead so that students who are passionate about the sport have the opportunity to do what they love." They went on to say that part of their efforts this fall will include "opportunities for both family input, K-12, and community input to help inform our planning as we work to foster opportunities for students to engage in football and other athletic pursuits.”
Though Friday nights under the lights will not include tackle football this fall, South plans to have events for students and the community including Friday night soccer matches and the possibility of inter-squad football scrimmages.
Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) sponsored events, including fall sports, are schedueld to begin August 16 across the state, with tryouts and practices for fall sports including volleyball, cross-country, soccer, cheer, and more.
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