HELENA — The Montana High School Association executive board upheld a decision by MHSA executive director Mark Beckman to prohibit the football programs at Twin Bridges and Sheridan from forming an 8-Man co-op next season.
The board voted 4-3 to deny Monday’s appeal by the two communities, due to the combined enrollment of the two schools exceeding the maximum allowed for a cooperative, as well as the combined roster size greatly exceeding the 8-Man average.
Twin Bridges and Sheridan have a two-year average combined enrollment of 132.5, according to Beckman, with roster sizes projected between 32 and 38 over the next three years. The 8-Man average roster size is 21, per Beckman.
Under current MHSA bylaws, a school cannot co-op to move up a class. Sheridan is 6-Man, while Twin Bridges is 8-Man, as would be the proposed co-op.
MHSA executive board president Dennis Murphy also detailed that each school can currently field its own team. Nineteen football players suited up for 8-Man Twin Bridges, while 6-Man Sheridan fielded 13, according to the board. The Falcons finished the 2018 season with a 4-4 record, while the Panthers were 3-6.
Following the vote, Sheridan superintendent Mike Wetherbee requested a waiver for the co-op deadline and enrollment numbers to allow Sheridan and Lima to form a 6-Man cooperative. The MHSA executive board unanimously passed that decision due to Lima not being able to field its own team.
If the school boards in Sheridan and Lima vote to approve the co-op and present the proper paperwork to the MHSA, the cooperative could be in place when teams kick off next fall.