MARSHALL (KYTX) - According to the Marshall ISD school officials, the school district is canceling the seventh-grade contact football program at Marshall Junior High School.
The decision was made and approved by the School Board of Trustees during Monday's regular February meeting. The recommendation was presented by Athletic Director Clint Harper in January
The change goes into effect for the 2014-2015 school year.
Citing several factors -- including player safety, skills development and overall budget -- Harper outlined the proposal during the January board meeting. Prior to the Board's final vote on the proposal on Monday, Harper gave a detailed plan on the communication of the issue with parents and student-athletes who will be entering seventh-grade athletics next fall.
"I will be visiting both our middle school campuses (Price T. Young and Sam Houston) in May to discuss the athletic program with our sixth-grade student-athletes," Harper said Monday. "We will also have a parent meeting in late May to go over the specifics of the seventh-grade athletic program and to discuss exactly what their child can expect as a seventh-grade student-athlete."
The only sport to be affected by this change is football. During the fall, student-athletes will be taught expectations as a member of the Maverick football program, and will be evaluated by coaches with their skill level. Coaches will divide players into teams that will play regular non-contact football, or ''flag football,'' during their athletic period to further evaluate and develop skills, Harper said.
Marshall will be the third program in the current District 14-4A alignment to drop seventh-grade football, joining Texas High and Sulphur Springs.
Harper stressed that the change will not affect other competitive seventh-grade sports such as basketball and track, and that contact football will begin once the player moves to the eighth grade.