Opting up to Class B would have allowed NSAA picture to clarify

Would the Aurora Huskies be better suited as a little fish in a big pond or a big fish in a smaller pond? The hunter or the hunted?
That was essentially the question facing the Aurora 4R School Board last week in a meeting that in many ways represented a crossroads for our school and community. Aurora wasn’t the only community facing that decision this year, and in fact this will likely not be the last time the 4R board has to weigh in on that dilemma. Our enrollment numbers, at this point, fall right on the classification line, a frustrating fact of life.
The decision, as you know, drew a split 3-3 vote, which means the Huskies football team will take the field as a Class C1 squad for the next two years based on Aurora’s current boy enrollment. It seems other Aurora sports will remain Class B for the coming year.
There were strong arguments on both sides of this question. Those wanting to opt up to Class B were sincere in the belief that dropping down a classification will send a message about our community, real or perceived, while also changing the level of consistent competition. Those who preferred following the new NSAA classification were equally sincere in wanting to do what’s best for kids, giving our student-athletes the best opportunity for success and, ultimately, state championships by playing schools with like-size enrollments.
The issue I believe should have swung the pendulum, however, is drastic change now occurring on the NSAA landscape. As of next year, the number of schools in Class A will change from 28 to 33, while the Class B field is proposed to shrink from 32 to 22. A number of top C1 schools, including Norfolk Catholic and David City Aquinas, are reportedly going down to Class C2 for football the next two years as well.
With such change on the horizon, the 4R board could have bought some time to let the picture clear up a bit by opting up to Class B for at least the next two years. What we don’t want to see happen, for all involved, is a schedule bouncing back and forth between B and C1. That would also have allowed time for the community as a whole to assess its pro-growth strategies and philosophy. In that sense, the message, and challenge, have already been delivered in that there is work to do if Aurora wants to keep its proud reputation as a progressive, pro-growth community.
The one thing we do know for certain is that Husky Nation will support its teams, coaches and student-athletes regardless of who the opponent may be, and no matter what the record says at the end of the season. On that point there was never a question.
Kurt Johnson

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