Conference realignment can be good, when done for right reasons
Conference realignment. It’s become of the hottest issues in sports as teams shuffle from conference to conference, looking for the best fit.
In the world of college athletics, the issue has been prevalent in the last decade. With smaller conferences being absorbed into the larger conferences, all in the name of BCS bowl bids and conference payouts, seeing a mid-level conference go from 12 members to non-existent has become a part of the business.
But while the issue has been mostly considered a collegiate issue, conference realignment has also become a hot-button issue on the prep sports level.
Just this past week, the issue hit our local coverage areas, as the North Star League has started the process of expanding to 12 teams for the 2013-14 school year.
With the addition of former Huron Shores Conference members Whittemore-Prescott, Oscoda, Alcona and Rogers City, the conference will also have nine-team football conference.
Like with many conference realignments, football was the point of emphasis in this change.
But in the end, the process will help make things easy on the other sports in the league.
As it has already been pointed out, this move will help improve scheduling across the board.
With the proposed conference realignment, some of the schools in the conference have teams for certain sports that others do not.
But with more teams in the league, there will be more opportunities to fill schedules with conference foes, instead of scheduling trips to schools across the state just to have a wrestling meet.
With a larger pool of more local opponents in conference, teams can avoid having to travel for hours to a game, cutting costs for schools.
This recent move wasn’t the only action on the conference realignment front in our coverage area, as West Branch-Rose City Area Schools explored in the fall the idea of leaving the Big North Conference, a conference the district just joined.
While plans to leave didn’t materialize, that situation was another instance of how conference realignment, and athletics in general, has become a even more of a focal point for our school districts.
This issue might not be as prevalent on the high-school level as it is in the college ranks, but it’s safe to say many more schools will have to start making these same kinds of decisions, for better or for worse.