Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shrinking Dumont Looking for Change

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shrinking Dumont Looking for Change

Article excerpt

DUMONT - The numbers say Dumont High School's enrollment is shrinking, which means the Big North Conference - and number of Thanksgiving Day football games - could shrink, too.

Dumont athletic director Mike Oppido has approached his Board of Education and made a presentation to the Big North Conference, asking it to consider letting his school depart the 5-year-old league at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

By all accounts, Oppido has done his homework and made a compelling argument. The numbers don't lie. Dumont High has 808 students, and that number is expected to drop over the next several years to where Dumont would go from a midsize Group 2 program to a small Group 2.

Dumont, which boasts 13 varsity programs, has been successful in the Big North in baseball, girls soccer and softball, winning multiple division titles in each sport. But it is the third- smallest school in the league, and the smallest single-sending district school (Westwood and Pascack Hills are smaller by enrollment, but are regional schools).

"This is strictly about an enrollment issue and what we can do to benefit our kids and what we can do to make this the best for them," said Oppido. "Given this enrollment data, we have to at least evaluate changing conferences."

There are still multiple hurdles to be cleared. The next step is for Oppido to be given the go-ahead from the Board of Education to apply to leave the 41-school Big North. He expects to hear back from the board soon.

The conference will meet again in February and could vote on the matter then, or wait, according to Big North executive director Sharon Hughes.

Oppido said if the school is allowed to leave, Dumont would then look to enter the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference. They could be reunited with members of the BCSL American division that they were with until 2010.

"I think that's where Dumont, of all the conferences that are around our area, I think that's the place we would fit best," said Oppido on Tuesday.

But they would lose Tenafly.

That's important because as of now, Big North schools don't play football games against NJIC schools. A Thanksgiving Day football game between Dumont and Tenafly - a tradition in Bergen County since 1949 - would end. …

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