North Star League, Huron Shores discussing merger
ARENAC COUNTY — The athletic directors (ADs) from the North Star League have unanimously agreed that they would like to see it and the Huron Shores Conference merge, during the AD meeting Nov. 5.
The eight ADs in the North Star League all agreed to take the proposal to their superintendents, who have their own meeting Nov. 19, Au Gres-Sims Athletic Director Jeri Christie said. She said the four Huron Shores ADs also voted unanimously to join together and are bringing it to their own superintendents.
“Nothing’s been decided yet,” Christie said. “We’ve been talking about it for four years now.”
Christie said with the current eight North Star League teams, if a school’s team has an open night to play, it can be tricky to find another team that is not already playing. The additional teams from the Huron Shores Conference would make it easier to fill those gaps in the schedule.
“It would make it easier on our schedule,” Christie said. “If we combine, instead of traveling long distances, we would get more people to play nearby.”
Mio AuSable Athletic Director Terry Gillette told his school board Nov. 5 that shrinking enrollment has caused some schools to cut sports programs, leaving scheduling gaps that need to be filled — something the merger would rectify.
“I think this is something we should do,” Gillette said. “I think this is something we should have done three years ago. If you look at our schedules, we have a lot of non-league games on there. If we do this, there will be no non-league games anymore. We’ll have a league that is large enough to put a full league schedule together.”
Gillette said the North Star League is aiming for next fall as the start date.
A merger would create a league with 12 teams, assuming all the current members sign to it. Christie said Rogers City is also interested in joining, which would bring the number of teams to 13.
The next AD meeting is Dec. 10, and the logistics, schedules and divisions of such a merger will be discussed at that time.