RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It was an emotional morning on Monday for many students and coaches at the Rensselaer City School District, after learning the school will not field a varsity football team this year due to a lack of player interest.
Rensselaer Head Football Coach Joel Preston says it was never a decision anyone wanted to make.
“That’s why we gave it this long. Realistically we could kinda see the writing on the wall last week, but we wanted to exhaust all possible ways for the kids,” said Preston. “You never want to see that happen.”
A tough, but necessary, decision according to the head coach who says sign-up numbers were down. Every ninth through 12th grader who was interested in the sport, was told to report to the school’s gymnasium by 7:30 a.m. Monday.
The school was aiming for 20 players, 16 of which would need to be on the field, ready to play at all times. Some players drove around the community early Monday morning, knocking on doors in an effort to try to recruit more members to the team.
In the end, approximately 21 students showed up Monday, but Preston says nearly a third of them did not have the required physicals completed.
The coach says while numbers have been down in the past, he has never lost an entire team.
“It’s sad because we have a lot of talent. I was very optimistic,” said Preston. “I thought that we are normally a D. Were a C this year and I thought we’d actually probably have a fairly strong team athletic wise, but we just don’t have enough kids.”
For those who did want to participate in the football team, the school says it will help get them involved in other sports programs.
“Hopefully they can find something else that they can latch on to and continue to be good student athletes,” said Athletic Director Bill Spath.