Contrary to rumor, Davis County's 12 junior high school principals are not asking the district to ban interschool athletics - yet.

But they are recommending that the programs be cut back significantly for the 1991-92 school year.The reason? Shortage of buses, mainly.

School buses are in short supply throughout the fast-growing, financially strapped district. So, for the first time in recent history, the district has limited the number of bus trips each junior high gets to 40. That amounts to a 33 percent cut for some schools.

Those 40 trips must be divided among athletics, academic competitions, the performing arts and other extracurricular activities.

"We've found that athletics events take 75 percent of my bus trips," said Blaine Hyer, principal of Farmington Junior High, which already has used 60 bus trips since school began last fall. "So our thinking is to cut athletics back so we can get buses for these other activities."

Under the present athletics program, a junior high school could conceivably use 36 bus rides a year on athletics, and that's inequitable to the non-athletic extracurricular programs, said Larry Brewer, principal of Kaysville Junior High.

So Hyer, Brewer and the other junior high principals developed a plan in which athletics would only consume about 15 bus trips per year. Their plan has been discussed by the district's "Athletics Board of Managers," which will make a recommendation to the superintendent, said Jim Hill, district physical education supervisor.

But don't look for any drastic changes, said Hill.

"The direction (of the athletics board) is we will have a junior high athletics program next year. There might be a modification in tournament play and the number of games played."

Although the principals have not officially asked the district to ban interschool athletics, they have discussed the subject at length.

Hyer said that in addition to the straining budgets, the interschool sports programs tend to limit the number of students who wish to participate.

Noting it can be "devastating" to a teenager to get cut from a team, Hyer said he and his colleagues advocate a strong intramural program and school support of community sports leagues.

During the coming year, a committee of parents, coaches, students and administrators should study the future of junior high sports, the principals say.

"If we could get more kids involved, whether it's ping pong or soccer or basketball, then I think that's the direction we should be going. . . . We need to do what's in the best interest of the kids, not the parents or coaches."


(Additional information)

Proposals for 91-92

Under the principals' proposal for 1991-92, interschool track and field competition would be eliminated and replaced with an intramural program.

The following sports would be trimmed:

Girls volleyball - from 11 regular-season games a year to five plus a championship game.

Boys wrestling - from about six meets a year to five plus qualifying and post-season tournaments.

Boys basketball - from 11 regular-season games to five plus a championship. No post- or preseason tournaments.

Girls basketball - same as boys.

The district eliminated baseball and football programs from the junior highs 10 years ago.