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Flathead area coach, AD give thoughts on potential high school baseball in Montana

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Posted at 6:18 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 20:18:11-05

WHITEFISH — The Montana High School Association will vote to decide if baseball will become a sanctioned high school sport in Montana at its Jan. 17 meeting. Although the possibility is exciting for many Class AA schools, some of the smaller schools are worried that they won't have the players or the budget.

"It would have to start out as a privately-funded opportunity. We just don't have it in the budget to finance baseball. We we are barely getting by the way as it is," Whitefish athletic director Aric Harris said.

Kevin Slaybaugh, coach of the Glacier Twins American Legion team, added,"Quite a stressful thing for the smaller high schools to be able to afford to do it."

Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming are the only three states that do not offer sanctioned high school baseball. But what makes these three states different is the lack of high school baseball facilities that are provided.

"In the state of Montana, I don't know if there's a baseball stadium with a high school anywhere. So they would have to line up facilities obviously, Whitefish would have to play here and Columbia Falls would have to find a place to play," Slaybaugh said.

Schools will not only need to figure out things financially, but due to Title IX there could be the possibility that the school will also need to offer another female sport as well.

"With adding another boy sport we have to add another female sport as well and so we want to make sure that we're in compliance there and we can we can accommodate our student female athletes as well," said Harris.

However, although there are many obstacles with the addition of the sport, it could also bring many advantages for athletes.

"Yeah, I think it presents a lot of opportunities for kids at you know, in Montana, more opportunities, which I always think is a good thing," said Harris. "You know, there's always some pros and cons to anytime you add another sport, and those are things that we're looking at and weighing."

"I am torn on the issue. Anything that gets kids involved in baseball is a good thing. I mean, it might create some more interest, you know, in the general population of the high school," added Slaybaugh.