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Conference Realignment - What's Coming in the Next Round?


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2 minutes ago, EasyEJay said:

Cascade currently sits atop the overall sports championship for the ICC , yet they are leaving? a school switching conferences despite being competitive in a majority of sports is not unheard of 🙄 *condescension noted 

Geography. The WIC is largely Cascade's old WCC neighbors - their division would likely be the four Putnam County schools + West Vigo. That's much more appealing than sending teams to Triton Central and through Indy traffic to get to Beech Grove and Lutheran for baseball and volleyball. 

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5 minutes ago, 1st_and_10 said:

 I just wonder if Danville, Tri-West, Lebanon all outgrow the Sag and start looking for something that makes more sense for them to prepare for playoffs...

 

I've been predicting this for years. As these three communities get pulled more and more into the Indianapolis-area urban sprawl they are no longer going be interested in completing against rural schools like South Montgomery or rust belt towns like Frankfort. 

 

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6 minutes ago, EasyEJay said:

As opposed to traveling to Greenfield Central like you did this year? Personally I think travel itself is under a drastic change in HS Sports in the age of COVID, Bus driver shortage, and stricter budgets . Carpools are becoming much more common . 

Cascade currently sits atop the overall sports championship for the ICC , yet they are leaving? a school switching conferences despite being competitive in a majority of sports is not unheard of 🙄 *condescension noted 

This is where this site gets exhausting , I'm not saying they have even looked into it, but why does any school cooperation make any decision it does (and this is coming from an educator) ? I do think the Sagamore is very top heavy in football maybe they would enjoy a little more balance? Lets not pretend like its the craziest thing that would have happened in HS sport besides the Milan Miracle .............

So my post made you sleepy? I thought it was a good question, I swear to God I did 

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20 hours ago, HHF said:
One of the most highly discussed and debated topics relative to high school football is the one involving conference affiliation.
 
More than most states in the US, conferences remain at the core of high school athletics in Indiana, primarily due to the fact that we do not use a qualifying system to advance to post season play, with all teams and all individual athletes having an equal opportunity to compete for state championships.
 
Conference Championships, at both the individual and team level, are still meaningful and important in Indiana, and will remain that way.
 
Conferences in many states have been blown up in favor of districts, sections, clusters, divisions, regions, you name it. Once that conference connection has been lost, that feeling of belonging and inclusion is very hard to ever get back.
 
This is why Indiana holds it conferences as sacred and absolutely vital to the success of Individual athletes and teams throughout the state.
 
So when it comes to changes to these critically important conferences, people get emotional and possessive and opinionated, and a hundred other emotions are likely to emerge. That's what makes it such a juicy discussion topic.
 
We've seen quite a few changes over the past few years, some subtle, some earth shaking.
 
Some of the bigger moves are as follows :
 
* Center Grove and Carmel's departure from The MIC
* Mishawka's move to the NLC
* Jasper and Vincennes jump to the SIAC
* Franklin Central sneaks into the HCC
* Perry Meridian joins the Mid State
* The SAC opens up to non con play
* The PAC absorbs the Big 8.
 
Several others are pending :
 
* Cascade is leaving The ICC
* Hanover Central is joining the Northwest Crossroads
* Gary West Side is joining the GSSC
 
There are plenty of others, big school and small school.
 
So what will the next round of conference moves look like, and who are some schools that either might already be contemplating a change, or should consider one given current competitive circumstances ?
 
1. Shelbyville
The Golden Bear athletic program has hit on rough times, with no team suffering more than the varsity football program. The Bears are 2-35 since Pat Parks retired after the 2017 season, 1-27 in Hoosier Heritage Conference play over that span. Enrollment is stagnant, and the school is stuck right in the middle of Class 4A. The HHC is heading in one direction, and Shelbyville is heading in another. Look for this school to find a new home in the near future.
 
2. Greenwood
Greenwood is another school that is getting smaller while everyone else in their conference is getting bigger. With just under 1200 students, the Woodmen are competing against schools much larger in 5A and 6A, and are struggling to keep up. The City of Greenwood is completely full with little land for new development. The Mid State is a great conference and nobody wants to leave it. GHS may be forced out at some point given the current enrollment and competitive trends in the conference.
 
3. Indian Creek
I continue to look at Trafalgar, Indiana on the state map, and I ask myself, "what is Indian Creek doing in the Western Indiana Conference?" The Creek has had very little success in The WIC relative to conference championships in team sports, and the travel expense and burden on the athletes, coaches, families and fans must be brutal. Wouldn't it make some sense for IC to play in the Indianapolis based Indiana Crossroads Conference? Maybe that's too logical.
 
(Aren't Indian Creek, Greenwood and Shelbyville fairly close together? hmmm)
 
4. The Duneland Conference
The DAC is a bit like a country club. Admission is very tough to achieve. Once you have it, you tend to hang on for life. Hobart left the Duneland in 2003 when the other conference schools outgrew the Brickies and the championship machine suddenly dried up in the post Don Howell era. Laporte is going thru some similar struggles. The Slicers are positioned right between the NIC and the DAC, and geographically could go either way. I would not be shocked to see Laporte and Michigan City move east for a combination of competitive and travel reasons and join the Northern Indiana Conference at some point.
 
5. Wawasee
The Warriors played Roncalli for a state championship in 2004, lost that game and it has been downhill ever since. The athletic program is struggling to compete in the NLC amid declining participation numbers. There is no clear path to success for Wawasee. A new home might be the better long term solution.
 
6. Conference Indiana
This conference has seen more change than any other in Indiana over the past 20 years. Schools have come and gone regularly and despite some stability over the past 5 years, there is no long lasting permanency due to changes coming in the Terre Haute school system, where TH North and South will likely both be remodeled and downsized with a new 3A size school opening as well. These changes could push expansion in The WIC and put the final nail in the Conference Indiana coffin. Bloomington North and South should be proactive and join the Hoosier Hills, and Columbus North is a strong candidate for inclusion into The Mid State. Southport, which was left out in the cold by rivals Franklin Central and Perry Meridian, should be able to find a home in the Circle City Conference.
 
7. West Lafayette
The Red Devils absolutely own the Hoosier, losing only 3 conference games in 7 years, two of those to the great LCC teams that won consecutive state titles. WL would transition seamlessly into The NCC, and play meaningful football games weekly against Harrison, Jeff, McCutcheon, Kokomo, Logansport, Muncie Central, Marion, etc. This program unfortunately sleepwalks thru an overmatched schedule at times, which may cost it in terms of post season preparation. Its tough to sharpen the stone weekly when your winning 48-0 at halftime and playing running clock football for half the season.
 
8. Center Grove
Conference membership means more to Center Grove than it does to Carmel. Conference and County championships are celebrated in White River Township, while the Carmel crew is focused primarily on state title hardware. Look for CG to make another run at The HCC, this time flying solo, and getting unanimous acceptance..
 
9. Indianapolis Tech
With Carmel and Center Grove gone, The MIC is now an urban conference, and Tech belongs and deserves a shot to join this group. With the proper investments in coaching and equipment, Tech can compete. This school should not be traveling all over the state in the NCC for conference play when it has 6 MIC like minded schools in its backyard.
 
10. Northwest Crossroads
The addition of Hanover Central in 2023 is a good start for The NCC, but a full expansion to 10 schools including Hammond Central, Hammond Morton and East Chicago would significantly expand the leagues competitive profile, Solves a lot of scheduling headaches as well for conference ADs.

img-ConferenceRealignment.jpg

I would still like to see Mid State expand and bring in the Bloomingtons and Columbus North.

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2 hours ago, crimsonace1 said:

I generally make it a point to not respond to DT/HHF's "throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what sticks" clickbait, but 

*-Shelbyville - I figure it's a matter of when, not if, the Golden Bears go to the EIAC. 

*-Greenwood - could replace Shelbyville in the Hoosier Heritage. They were apparently interested when Rushville left but the district admin insisted they remain in the Mid-State. 

*-Indian Creek: Isolated. It's a mid-sized 3A school without any 3A schools nearby. It's basically stuck with Brown County & Edgewood. That's why it's in the WIC. It could possibly join the Indiana Crossroads, but travel is going to be a nightmare no matter where it goes. It's not joining a league with 4A Shelbyville & Greenwood. 

*-Southport: The Circle City Conference is a private school league. Southport's not going there. If/when Conference Indiana blows up, I'd expect them to possibly try to latch on with either the Mid-State or the Hoosier Heritage. Have no idea what Columbus North and the Bloomington schools do in that scenario - possibly try to join an expanded Mid-State? 

*-Tech could compete in the MIC in basketball and really not in much of anything else. It would get destroyed in football. Geographically, the NCC is a terrible fit, but competitively, it's a good one. 

*-Center Grove: It'll be in the HCC in the near future once the kerfluffle over them leaving the MIC blows over. 

 

I could definitely see Greenwood try and get in the Hoosier Heritage IF Shelbyville leaves.

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50 minutes ago, crimsonace1 said:

The Big Eight was such a good and perfect league. A league of mostly 3A county-seat schools in southwestern Indiana (and southeastern Illinois, in Mt. Carmel's case). Have no idea how or why that broke apart. But it's going to leave some schools scrambling to find a conference. 

VL should go to the Pocket, which in turn should split into two conferences. 

You still using Netscape as a web browser? 😄

Let us just say that this ship has sailed.

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2 hours ago, crimsonace1 said:

*-Shelbyville - I figure it's a matter of when, not if, the Golden Bears go to the EIAC. 

This won't happen. 

1 hour ago, crimsonace1 said:

Connersville & Rushville fit well geographically and school-wise in the EIAC. There's really no place else for either to go. 

Connersville & Rushville are a terrible fit for the EIAC, geographically & otherwise. 

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56 minutes ago, crimsonace1 said:

The Big Eight was such a good and perfect league. A league of mostly 3A county-seat schools in southwestern Indiana (and southeastern Illinois, in Mt. Carmel's case). Have no idea how or why that broke apart. But it's going to leave some schools scrambling to find a conference. 

VL should go to the Pocket, which in turn should split into two conferences. 

The Big 8 in 1990 - Vincennes, Jasper, Washington, Boonville, Mt Vernon (Posey), Tell City, Princeton, and Gibson Southern were a pretty good fit.  Gibson Southern was the lone outlier as more of an agrarian community and moved to the PAC in the early/mid 90's.  The blue-collar, rust belt communities of Vincennes, Mt Vernon, Washington, and Tell City have all fallen in enrollment.  

I used to have a spreadsheet with the PAC/Big 8 schools with population and median household income data.  Pretty drastic declines for some of these former Big 8 towns, while Jasper and Gibson Southern have thrived.   

With GS, Tell City, and Mt Carmel all leaving at various times over the last 25 years, Jasper was looking at a 5 team conference that they had really outgrown.  That is why it broke apart.    

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5 minutes ago, crimsonace1 said:

Geography. The WIC is largely Cascade's old WCC neighbors - their division would likely be the four Putnam County schools + West Vigo. That's much more appealing than sending teams to Triton Central and through Indy traffic to get to Beech Grove and Lutheran for baseball and volleyball. 

You may be right, I have a hard time believing this decision is made solely with that  idea alone, but you probably know more than I do (being married I'm used to never being right ).

Personally I believe that a portion of the decision is competitiveness for their Football program I wouldn't think people are stupid for thinking so. Especially when you drive out to Cascade and see their Football stadium which would make many 3-4A schools blush . 

Honestly I could careless what the real reason is or trying to convince anyone on here I know anything at all . Its almost impossible to be a fan on this site anymore people so desperately crave the conflict of old can't tell you how many time I start to comment then just think why bother? but I don't donate so many I deserve it . 

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1 hour ago, crimsonace1 said:

The Big Eight was such a good and perfect league. A league of mostly 3A county-seat schools in southwestern Indiana (and southeastern Illinois, in Mt. Carmel's case). Have no idea how or why that broke apart. But it's going to leave some schools scrambling to find a conference. 

VL should go to the Pocket, which in turn should split into two conferences. 

Mt Carmel started the breakup when it advised The PAC it was leaving due to the new playoff format in Illinois which required it to play in a cluster with other schools, thus leaving no open dates to play in Indiana.  

The PAC is already split into large division/small division format.  VL would slot into the large division, assuming they are voted in, which is not at all a sure thing at this time.

VL could and should consider going independent.  They have plenty of schools to play in all directions.  

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1 hour ago, Robert said:

Let's just ignore that.  HAHA

ADs and Admins would rather get beaten to a pulp week after week than lose football revenue and deep six their entire athletic budget.  It is what it is.  

Looking forward, we have a new generation of admins who are considerably less sportsminded, often times more female, and will likely be more willing to pull the plug on football than would their predecessors.  

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7 minutes ago, HHF said:

ADs and Admins would rather get beaten to a pulp week after week than lose football revenue and deep six their entire athletic budget.  It is what it is.  

Looking forward, we have a new generation of admins who are considerably less sportsminded, often times more female, and will likely be more willing to pull the plug on football than would their predecessors.  

Evidence of this?

How many schools in the last 5 years have relegated to a JV schedule or completely contracted their football programs? If anything I see more and more schools offering football than ones voluntarily choosing to shut it down.

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3 minutes ago, Footballking16 said:

Evidence of this?

How many schools in the last 5 years have relegated to a JV schedule or completely contracted their football programs? If anything I see more and more schools offering football than ones voluntarily choosing to shut it down.

Sub 1A fledgling schools dont move the needle on participation.  

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2 minutes ago, Footballking16 said:

What non-1A fledgling schools have contracted their football programs in the last 5 years?

Contraction has not occurred.  It was just a myth and a veiled threat.  I personally believe we are in a period of aggressive separation between those schools that want to take football seriously and those who feel obligated to participate.  It may take some time for that first hard wave of contraction to hit.  I still think it will.  It will likely be driven by a new wave of progressive admins who have no personal ties to the sport.  

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29 minutes ago, HHF said:

ADs and Admins would rather get beaten to a pulp week after week than lose football revenue and deep six their entire athletic budget.  It is what it is.  

Looking forward, we have a new generation of admins who are considerably less sportsminded, often times more female, and will likely be more willing to pull the plug on football than would their predecessors.  

So now we're blaming women for bad football?

Looks like a new batch of spaghetti's ready to get flung at a wall.

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2 minutes ago, foxbat said:

So now we're blaming women for bad football?

Looks like a new batch of spaghetti's ready to get flung at a wall.

Many schools choose to be either good or bad in football.

Its clearly evident in the decisions that they make, or dont make.

Muncie Central has been bad in football for a long time.  They've decided they want to be better.  Note their recent decision.

Others who were previously bad and have now chosen to be good include Greenfield Central, Gary West Side, Silver Creek. 

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3 minutes ago, HHF said:

Many schools choose to be either good or bad in football.

Its clearly evident in the decisions that they make, or dont make.

Muncie Central has been bad in football for a long time.  They've decided they want to be better.  Note their recent decision.

Others who were previously bad and have now chosen to be good include Greenfield Central, Gary West Side, Silver Creek. 

Certainly true, although there are many of them that just are and chose to remain ... however, you tossed in women into that mix as a cause.

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7 minutes ago, foxbat said:

Certainly true, although there are many of them that just are and chose to remain ... however, you tossed in women into that mix as a cause.

I was referencing the future of high school administration.  

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10 minutes ago, gonzoron said:

"Admins who are oftentimes MORE female"............not necessarily a woman.

You guys add class, dignity and exceptional insight to every conversation.

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4 minutes ago, HHF said:

I was referencing the future of high school administration.  

I will ask, "What does female/woman/XX/etc. have to do with bad football?" ... whether in the future or present?

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1 minute ago, foxbat said:

I will ask, "What does female/woman/XX/etc. have to do with bad football?" ... whether in the future or present?

There is clearly no connection.  If you took the time to comprehend the logic behind the post, instead of trying to be witty and stupid and a smartass, you might have already figured it out.  

You reflect poorly on the schools that you supposedly represent.  My guess is they don't claim you as one of their own.

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1 minute ago, HHF said:

There is clearly no connection.  If you took the time to comprehend the logic behind the post, instead of trying to be witty and stupid and a smartass, you might have already figured it out.

So just a wildly unfound opinion then? 

More schools might contract their football teams because a woman is in charge and they don't understand/care for football? How ignorant is that? 

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