One of the casualties of the latest Akron Public Schools budget cuts was middle school sports. That means middle school basketball, soccer wrestling and track programs will be shut down, as the district tries to wipe out a $22-million budget deficit.
APS Athletic Director Joe Howard says he could anticipate these cuts as a possibility more than a year ago and started planning for them. He tells AkronNewsNow " We're working with the city of Akron and the YMCA to get our student-athletes in the programs that they have. The city of Akron has recreation basketball, and the season goes longer than our season does. There are softball leagues out there, there are soccer leagues out there."
Howard says the hardest hit sports will be wrestling and track. " No real replacements. I know two of our high school coaches are putting together club wrestling programs to help absorb some of those students," says Howard.
Football won't be affected because the district's middle schools don't field football teams. Student-athletes prepare for high school in pee-wee football and other club leagues.
He's hoping that club sports will fill the gap since the district can no longer field middle school teams.
Howard says the worst aspect of losing middle school sports is the regret that student-athletes have for not being able to play for their school.