In recent years, participation in tackle football among youngsters age 6 through 14 has taken a hit nationwide.
The Ripon Chiefs youth football program, for one, has seen its numbers dwindled.
“We’re down 40 kids (from the previous year),” said coach and board President Mike Gollinger at Monday’s Ripon Unified school board meeting.
Health issues ranging from concussions to mental health based on recent studies were among reasons for among the reasons for the reduced participation.
Gollinger was hoping that the school district at best would allow for a 100 percent fee waiver on the $4,500 for the cost of using Ripon High’s Stouffer Field this year — his request was for six dates including the Nov. 5 Super Bowl — and a 50 percent reduction for the next five years.
The majority of the Chief players go on to play for Ripon High, Gollinger said.
“Anything would help,” he added.
Superintendent Siegrid ‘Ziggy’ Robeson said that the request would a tough one for RUSD to absorb financially given economic uncertainty of the future.
Trustee Chad Husky recommended that the Chiefs pay 50 percent of the assigned $4,500 and access cost for custodial after the season.
His colleague supported the motion, voting 4-0 (Mike Fisher was absent).
Gollinger was thankful for the one-time reduced pay.