HUMBOLDT — Approval of services integral to USD 258 athletics were among the items handled during Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting.
The board first approved a 1-year contract with area retailer Jock’s Nitch to provide athletic apparel for Humboldt’s sports teams.
There were additional incentives offered to the district by the Pittsburg-based company, including a 40 percent discount on Adidas team gear, as well as a 30 percent discount on Adidas apparel for district personnel. The company will also sell Humboldt-branded gear at its recently-opened Iola location.
Jock’s Nitch owner John Minton proposed a 5-year deal, according to first-year Humboldt Athletic Director Terry Meadows. The board ultimately approved the 1-year agreement by a 7-0 vote. Prior to the unanimous vote, Superintendent Amber Wheeler said that the district would have to undergo a bid process if it were to entertain a multi-year deal.
While the district is utilizing Jock’s Nitch apparel for the current school year, it’s not under contractual obligation until the 2023-24 school year.
“We liked Adidas and their uniforms,” Meadows said, noting that the district’s former apparel distributor BSN Sports does not offer that product line. He added that the district does not receive a fresh set of uniforms every year, but rather cycles through them.
“Every year we get new uniforms, but for different sports,” Meadows explained.
Meadows believes the incentive-laden deal was in the best interest of the district.
“We get kickbacks,” he said, mentioning coaches’ apparel as an example.
A service that provides tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage, provide stats and livestream events was approved by a 6-0 margin Monday night.
The district has long utilized the service. Equipped with a set of cameras, the annual renewal of the “focus” package came with a price of more than $11,000. The service is exclusive to three of the district’s athletic programs — football, basketball and volleyball.
The livestream capabilities do not require a cameraperson to be present. As for Humboldt’s setup, they have a camera installed in each of their gyms and one at the football field.
Wheeler mentioned that the service offers the luxury of more easily exchanging game film.
“One thing that our coaches have talked about is that this allows us to exchange film, so this has a film-exchange component to it,” she said.
The football program accounts for the largest slice of the Hudl pie. The coaching staff is able to review footage from multiple camera angles and also quickly upload those images to school-issued iPads.
“Logan (Wyrick) said they basically cannot do without it,” Meadows told the board, referencing Humboldt’s head football coach.
Doubling as Humboldt High’s head volleyball coach, Meadows said that the service has essentially become a necessity, especially for statistical purposes, allowing coaches to more efficiently manage their time.
“My first year as coach, I would have to go back and watch every single game on film and re-stat the whole game,” he said. “Now, they do that for you.”
Prior to approval, Wheeler noted that the Hudl livestream can also be used for graduation.
Another item that falls within the sports realm was broached during Monday’s meeting.
Midway through the meeting, Wheeler told the board that they should explore the addition of Esports as a future athletic program.
Esports is a form of competition using video games. Competitions are typically done in a multiplayer, team or individual format.
Wheeler said that high school administrators conducted a survey and the preliminary results indicated that Esports could greatly benefit students. Wheeler said that she needs more pricing information as far as start-up costs before making an official recommendation to the board.
The idea was born out of a recent professional development meeting discussion, in which the topic of the school’s student ineligibility list was mentioned. Such a list typically sanctions high school students with poor grades by banning them from extracurricular activities.
“I think it was Logan Wyrick that said half of those kids aren’t involved in anything, so the ineligibility doesn’t matter, which started a really good conversation that the impact of kids being engaged had,” Wheeler said. “It’s an option for engaging students who currently are not engaged in activities that we presently offer. Kids that are actively involved in some sort of extracurricular activity have a much higher rate of graduating high school and, typically, higher grades.
“We want to get as many kids involved as we possibly can. So that’s just one more avenue and is something that’s very different from what we currently have.”
Wheeler added that she was wowed by the scholarship opportunities offered by Esports.
“That was a new thing for me. I had no idea there were Esports scholarship opportunities,” she said. “My eyes were opened, because I truly had no idea the level of involvement with it.”
and March meeting
Wheeler told the board that the district would miss the March 1 deadline for adoption of the 2023-24 school calendar. Because it’s an adopted policy from the Kansas Association of School Boards and not a statute, the deadline can be moved.
“I’m going to be honest, it was completely something that was not on my thought process,” she said. “So we need to acknowledge that policy and make a change to it. I’m recommending April 15.”
The board unanimously approved the new deadline for publication of the calendar as April 10, coinciding with the monthly meeting. The approved motion applies only to this year.
The board also:
• Approved a senior class trip to Dallas, Texas, as well as use of a district vehicle.
• Was informed that milk prices will increase from 43 to 50 cents per carton.
• After closed executive session, approved the hiring of Mitchell Dewey as lunch supervisor.
Editor’s note: Board Member Drake Tillman, who is also a Humboldt police officer, was present for various portions of Monday’s meeting, and did not vote on all agenda items.
Clarification: Wednesday’s edition of The Tribune stated that Phase 1 of the district’s bond issue included an upgrade to office space at the fieldhouse and window installation at the district office.
While Phase 1 design is complete, construction has yet to take place. Additionally, the only upgrades the fieldhouse will undergo are HVAC related. Office upgrades are part of the Phase 4 blueprint for the high school.
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