The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

February 1, 2014

Farrell’s negative response to co-op could be far-reaching

By Lynn Saternow
Herald Sports Editor

- — We saw a prime example of that recently with the controversy about Sharon joining a co-op with Kennedy Catholic students in football and swimming.

OK, no one cares about swimming. The real concern is football.


There are a number of misconceptions being thrown about, such as it will allow Sharon to recruit and have football players enroll at Kennedy. Come on people. If you want to play football at Sharon, it is a lot cheaper to pay tuition to go to Sharon than to pay the fee at Kennedy.

In reality, there are very few Kennedy kids who will be playing football at Sharon. But it is commendable that some will have an opportunity since KC can no longer produce a credible program.

Actually, a lot more schools should consider co-ops since it reduces costs for the districts involved. There should be consolidation of schools as well, but that is probably a long way off unless the state steps up and makes proper decisions in that area.

Much is being made that Farrell has pulled out of the annual Steel Bowl game, because administrators are upset for some inexplicable reason. It’s an unfortunate decision, but not earth-shaking. It’s not a game that counted toward league standings, although there is a great deal of tradition behind it.

The real concern should be that school boards and district administrators are supposed to do what’s in the best interest of students and taxpayers. The Farrell decision hurts both.

Farrell kids love playing Sharon because they are friends or relatives of many of the players. And the Farrell-Sharon game was a big money-maker at the gate which helps pay for the sport which is very costly for taxpayers.

Scheduling Erie East in place of Sharon is a huge waste. The team brings very few fans and the trip to Erie for Farrell is a lot more costly than the 2-mile trip to Sharon’s Tiger Stadium.

Farrell is a school that should be looking for co-op programs. For example, Farrell should co-op track with Kennedy, since neither school has a full squad any more. And co-ops in golf or tennis or soccer with KC would afford maybe a few kids from Farrell who might play those sports to compete.

Right now there are hard feelings out there. You can bet that even a lot of Farrell people are very displeased with the school officials who made the decision. They enjoy the rivalry with Sharon. And it’s not prudent to raise taxes, then cut off sources of income like the Farrell-Sharon game. The question now is whether Sharon will drop Farrell in other sports.

But there is a lot more to look at here than just the end of a sports rivalry. Farrell is a school district that is being closely watched by the state. The state has forced other schools to close in the past in order to benefit the students who were bused to other districts.

While the recent decision by Farrell seemingly only concerns sports, it has to send a message to the state that the school officials may not be doing what’s best for students and taxpayers. And if that’s the case, no one may have to worry whether the Farrell-Sharon rivalry is renewed in two years, it may become a moot point..

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this weekly column each Saturday for The Herald. He can be reached at