DeKalb County athletics director Ron Sebree is bracing for proposed budget cuts that will affect junior varsity athletics, but he knows things could be worse.
The county’s 2010-11 fiscal year budget calls for a 25 percent reduction in JV athletics, which is $313,420. To make that cut, Sebree said the JV football schedule will be trimmed from seven games to five, and the JV basketball schedule would be trimmed from 12 games to 10 per school. There are 20 schools in the system.
“It will mainly save in transportation costs and officials, things like that,” Sebree said. “We know how vital JV is for the varsity programs, and we know these kids need things to do. But 25 percent won’t hurt as much as what some other counties are going through.”
Sebree said attendance tends to fall off for JV events, while attendance for middle school and varsity athletics is strong.
“Attendance is bad for JV games all over the state,” Sebree said. “For middle school, fans will be in the stands for basketball, football and track. And it picks back up for the high school varsity sports. I understand why the cuts have to be made and I totally support it.”
Junior varsity programs are the training grounds for the varsity programs, which have enjoyed great success in recent years. Four teams – Miller Grove and Columbia boys, and the Columbia and Southwest DeKalb girls – each won varsity state basketball titles last month. In football, a record-setting 126 players signed scholarships in February at the beginning of the early signing period.
“We’re extremely proud of our athletics in DeKalb County, and we want to keep it up,” Sebree said.