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FWCS rules could shuffle prep football rosters

As high school football season approaches, some Fort Wayne Community Schools players could be on different rosters due to transportation cuts and other issues. (News-Sentinel file photo)
As high school football season approaches, some Fort Wayne Community Schools players could be on different rosters due to transportation cuts and other issues. (News-Sentinel file photo)

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For more on local sports, follow Reggie Hayes on Twitter at www.twitter.com/reggiehayes1
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

A closer adherence to district lines will be enforced

Monday, July 20, 2015 12:01 am
Fort Wayne Community Schools' football “free agency,” or at least the perception of its existence, could come to an end at registration next week.The rules of who can play where will be strictly enforced, and some roster shuffling could result, a change due in part to a $2.5 million transportation budget cut.

“We'll just have to roll with it and make the best of the situation,” Northrop High School football coach Jason Doerffler said. “There might be some tough ones where you hate to see a kid go to another school, but at the same time you have to play by the rules. Maybe you'll have some kids show up on your doorstep and it's a good thing.”

Most student athletes should know where they are going, based on where they reside within the district. Two forms of proof of residency will be required at this year's registration, which takes place Friday and July 27.

If a student previously switched schools under the intradistrict transfer rules and still meets the required criteria, the student will be able to stay at his or her previous school. Incoming seniors will be allowed to remain at their previous school, FWCS said previously.

“There are a lot of variables that come into play,” Snider coach Kurt Tippmann said.

Because of a reduction in bus routes, some students who live in their school's no transportation zone or who attend a high school other than the one serving their neighborhood will be required to arrange their own transportation to school, and may have to transfer back to their neighborhood school if they can't get to the school they attended last year.

Doerffler and Tippmann both said they have a strong idea of the makeup of the core of their roster as full fall practice approaches in the next two weeks.

But they also are prepared to face a few surprises or changes to their rosters.

“None of it has ever been in the coaches' control,” Tippmann said. “I'm sure there's a perception that so-and-so goes to a certain school just because of football, but my experience is that I haven't had an iota of say in what kid goes to what school.”

The high schools within FWCS are North Side, Northrop, Snider, South Side and Wayne. In recent years, Snider and North Side have had the strongest football programs, and many fans assumed that football standouts were gravitating toward those schools via the intradistrict transfer rules.

“There could be some changes at registration,” Tippmann said. “There might be some surprises.”

Doerffler said he had a player contact him last week to let him know he would be forced to switch to South Side.

“There may be some kids who have missed that first or second letter (about district boundaries),” Doerffler said. “They try to get most of that done before the end of the school year. There shouldn't be too many who are surprised.”

Stockman said FWCS expects a few upset parents during registration, and will plan security measures carefully to make sure the process runs smoothly.

School registration will be the first step toward the 2015 football season, which opens on Aug. 21.

“Two more weeks in July, and then it's go time,” Doerffler said. “I'm sure there will be some plusses and some negatives (after registration), but we'll know who we've got and we'll be ready to go come August.”

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For more on local sports, follow Reggie Hayes on Twitter at www.twitter.com/reggiehayes1

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