Traverse City Record-Eagle

Prep Sports

September 11, 2013

Proposal to merge Lake Mich., Northwest moves forward

TRAVERSE CITY — A proposal to merge the Lake Michigan and Northwest conferences in football continues to press forward.

Representatives — superintendents, principals and/or athletic directors — from all 14 schools involved met Monday at St. Francis to further discuss the idea. The upshot: Athletic directors were given the task of hammering out issues that were raised in order to put together a finished proposal for the schools to vote on, possibly later this month. The athletic directors plan to meet next Tuesday.

“We really feel our districts collaborate well,” Elk Rapids superintendent Steve Prissel said. “This is a nice, natural fit for this region. There are details that need to be worked out. It is not a definite we are going to do it, but we have come together and said there is merit to looking at this, and looking at our next steps to see if this is going to work or not.”

The proposal, which includes current independent St. Francis, would divide the mega-league into two seven-team divisions, based on enrollment and strength of program. The original draft grouped Boyne City, Grayling, Elk Rapids, Kalkaska, St. Francis, Kingsley and Benzie Central in the large school division and Harbor Springs, East Jordan, Charlevoix, Suttons Bay, Glen Lake, Mesick and Frankfort in the small school division.

Dave Jackson, secretary-treasurer of the Northwest Conference, said that could change with Glen Lake and Kalkaska switching spots.

“Glen Lake wants to move up,” Jackson said.

Kalkaska, he added, has expressed a willingness to move down.

A policy that lays out parameters for determining possible changes in future divisional alignments will need to be agreed upon, Jackson said. Officials are talking about re-evaluating “upward or downward mobility” every two years.

A merger would address enrollment disparities in the two leagues and help in scheduling.

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