Future May Include Expansion Of Western Indiana Conference Field
A new-look Western Indiana Conference (WIC) will likely be in place for the 2015-2016 school year, but exactly how many schools will make-up the field of Indiana High School Athletic Association competitors has yet to be determined.
Principals of the seven WIC member high schools recently voted unanimously to extend membership invitations to five schools making up the West Central Conference (WCC). Recent action at school board meetings has led to the departure of Monrovia for the Hoosier Crossroads Conference and the additions of Cascade and Greencastle to the WIC. Decisions are still pending for the future conference alignments of Cloverdale, North Putnam and South Putnam.
“We have invited schools to possibly join the WIC,” Owen Valley High School Principal Rhonda Schafer confirmed on Tuesday. “We are in the process of discussing and will have decisions clear by mid-April.”
Currently at nine schools, and possibly a total of 12, the WIC would likely divide into two divisions, however, whether it’s a north-south or east-west alignment has yet to be determined. Divisions would likely be determined by student enrollment and geography.
S-OCS Superintendent Greg Linton recently told the Spencer- Owen School Board that the divisions would help reduce travel time and expenses. Currently, the league stretches from South Vermillion in Clinton to Brown County in Nashville. The new format would also result in a championship game between divisional champions to determine the conference champion in team sports, as well as large conference tournaments for individual sports.
“The IHSAA doesn’t place any restrictions on schools, they may make their own decisions with whom to align themselves,” IHSAA Sports Information Director Jason Wille told the Spencer Evening World.
School principals are scheduled to meet again for further discussion on Thursday, April 17. The possible merger would result in one of the largest athletic conferences in the state. During the previously held meeting, several principals said they would need school board approval before accepting or denying the invitation.
With a two-division format, the football schedule would include a week nine schedule set after division play concludes, pairing the first, second, third and fourth place teams from each division against one another.
In the four-class IHSAA format used by all team sports except football, the proposed league would, under current alignment, feature six 2A teams and six 3A teams. However, in football’s six-class system, the teams stretch across four divisions from 1A (South Putnam) to 4A (Owen Valley and Northview).
With the new alignment not taking shape until the 2014-2015 season, the five remaining WCC schools will continue league play, with the exception of Monrovia.
Formed in 1970, the WCC grew to include as many as 10 members at its largest. Its classic lineup featured the six current schools along with Danville, Edgewood, Owen Valley and Tri-West. That lineup was in place from 1978 until 1999, when Danville and Tri-West departed for the Sagamore Conference and Edgewood and Owen Valley left to help form the WIC. Avon was also an early member, while Speedway took part in the WCC from 1999 through 2010.
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