Girls and boys lacrosse clubs at Naperville Central and Naperville North high schools will not become official school sports this year, but Naperville Unit District 203 is developing a process for evaluating ways to allow lacrosse to be added by spring 2015.
Board members this week began discussing a process developed after lacrosse players and parents approached them in September seeking official sport status.
Being sanctioned as an official school sport could give lacrosse players use of locker rooms and school fields; district funding for coaches, uniforms, equipment and transportation; and the ability to count toward the number of teams the Illinois High School Association needs to start a state championship series.
If 40 girls lacrosse teams and 65 boys teams are sanctioned by their districts by Dec. 15, the IHSA will run its first lacrosse championships this spring, spokesman Matt Troha said.
District 203 high schools offer 13 boys sports and 12 girls sports; and competitive cheerleading, dance and pompom squads also compete in state series run by the IHSA. Although bowling is the only sport the schools do not offer that has an IHSA championship series, district officials still want to develop a procedure in case requests for additional sports come forward.
"We thought we ought to formalize the process in case we are approached in the future," Bob Ross, assistant superintendent for secondary education, said. "There's so much to consider and we want to make sure we do that properly."
Facilities and funding are the biggest considerations for the possible addition of new sports, Ross said. Clubs such as lacrosse may be affiliated with the school, but parents and boosters are responsible for providing their own funding. School teams are funded by districts.
With courts and fields at the two high schools already in high demand, board member Susan Crotty questioned whether it would be possible to add more sports without cutting current offerings.
"It just feels like it would be nearly impossible to add anything," she said.
Superintendent Dan Bridges said partnerships could offer solutions.
"How do we partner with other organizations to look at facility space and usage to ensure all of our sports have equitable time to practice?" Bridges said.
Under the procedure the board discussed this week, high school clubs or intramurals that have existed at least two years can approach their athletic director by Nov. 1 to begin consideration. Athletic directors will consider if the money and court, field or pool space can be found. If the athletic director believes the sport can be added, he or she will notify the principal by Jan. 1.
Principals at the two high schools will collaborate to decide by Feb. 1 if the proposal should move forward to district administrators. At that point, a potential new sport can be factored into the budget for the next school year. The board then could approve the addition of the new sport.
The procedure could be approved by the board at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, in the administrative center, 203 W. Hillside Road.