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The Gridiron Digest

Conference Realignment Q&A with Lafayette Jeff Head Coach Pat Shanley

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Question 1
Athletic conferences have been at the heart of high school sports for decades.  Winning conference championships at one time was the primary goal for hundreds of schools around the state.  Do you feel that the introduction of the state tournament, and the emphasis that it receives, has devalued the conference championship over these past few decades?
Our #1 goal is to be playing our best football come playoff time.  With that being said, it is a goal for our program each year to win the North Central Conference Championship. 
Question 2
Do you feel that the recent events in The MIC could potentially create a domino effect where other schools begin to reassess their current conference homes and potentially seek better opportunities?
I am not sure what movement will take place. As a high school football fan and an outsider to those two conferences, it will be interesting to see what transpires. 
Question 3
We have seen a few conferences go to 10 schools (SIAC/SAC) and play a full round robin schedule. eliminating the need for non conference games to fill open dates.  Many like this format primarily due to ease of scheduling and reduced travel.  Others would prefer to have open dates so their schools can seek opportunities to play out of area against stronger competition.  What are your thoughts on the subject and do you have a preference of one option over the other relative to conference makeup?
We will have an eye on this at it will likely impact us and others within the NCC as we seek to fill our non-conference games with high quality opponents. 
Question 4
We are also seeing more conferences move to a divisional set up, sometimes to reduce travel and others to group schools by class designation.  What are some of the positives and negatives of utilizing the divisional setup?
There are many positives of the divisional and cross over set-up within the NCC.
Question 5
With regards to your school and your conference affiliation, how would you assess the current competitive balance situation within your league, and what changes or improvements would you like to see to help move the conference forwards and remain competitive at both the local and state level?
The coaches and athletic directors spent some time the last few off-seasons to address scheduling within our conference.  Changes were made and will be effective for the 2022 football season.  I believe all of the coaches and AD's within the NCC support these changes and believe that each program within our conference will benefit from these changes. 




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