Thursday, June 28, 2012

Conference Realignment is Possible for PdC

There have been a number of meetings of Activity Directors and Principals on conference issues over the past five or six years. Recently the Superintendents of both the SWAL and SWC conferences have been brought into the discussions as the problems are getting more serious.

At these meetings there has been a lot of talk about what is not working, such as being locked out of playing games/matches within a reasonable distance. The problem is acute in football starting already in 2013 as getting games to fill a nine game schedule is becoming difficult, to borderline impossible, without traveling hundreds of miles. Football is just the start of a problem for SWC schools as some have lost up to 24 non-conference games as neighboring conferences are merging and closing ranks

For us at PdC. The Coulee and MVC have signed an agreement that starting in 2013 they will be crossing over for football games, so going north for games may be out. Traditionally we have played some Iowa schools, but they have closed regional schedules in Iowa for football, so going west is not even an option anymore. The conferences to the east have entered into agreements to close up for football.

The current school affiliations are as follows:


Cuba City
Mineral Point


Prairie du Chien
Richland Center
River Valley

At these SWC/SWAL meetings, the conversations boil down to basically two options going forward:

  • If the conferences stay somewhat in tact, the consensus is that the following is the best combination. A combined 14 team conference for Girls' Basketball, Boys' Basketball, Softball, and Baseball where the conferences (6 team SWC, 8 team SWAL - see teams above) stay about the same, but there would be mandated crossover games between the two groups to partially alleviate scheduling problems. Along with this a regional 'football only' configuration, across a number of conferences, would need to be developed by the WIAA. This "solution" was viewed by almost all as a short-term, if it even can be accomplished, band aid type fix that may create more problems than it solves. Plus, there is no indication that the 'football only' can, or will, become a reality.
  • Then what happens instead or next? The question is what would/could be a longer term solution that might work for the smaller SWAL schools. This is what I call a complete blow-up of the SWC scenario. We are not really even in this conversation. All of the SWAL schools have verbally agreed, except Riverdale, that they could take Platteville, Dodgeville and Lancaster as those schools are a fit geographically. The discussion is that even though they are bigger schools, that they would accept those three to make the SWAL a complete conference for all sports and a closed 10 team, without Riverdale, football conference. The WIAA would then place Riverdale in one of the smaller conferences in the area. Again, we are not in that mix.At PdC we have been communicating for about a year, that we could see that there was a strong possibility that the SWC Conference could be disbanding and that we, and a couple of other schools, may be without homes for activities. To protect ourselves if this does blow up, so that we do have a potential home for activities; we have reached out to the MVC to test that possibility. The response has been very positive. The initial conversations are that they would love to get another school to join them as they now have seven. 

MVC Schools

Aquinas High School
Central High School
Holmen High School
Logan High School
Sparta High School
Onalaska High School
Tomah High School

This is positive, that we have a backup plan, or an insurance policy so-to-speak in the MVC. However, it is a given that if this happens, not everyone will be happy. But there is absolutely no plan where every sport and everyone can be happy, and on top of that the options are very few.

We compete with many of these MVC schools in many different activities now. However, everyone needs to be aware that, under the category of competitiveness, these are generally much larger schools. On that front, the main issue is usually football as all teams do not make the playoffs. On that competitive level, the MVC schools now play the Coulee schools in crossover and the Coulee schools are holding their own. I really have no clue, but it has been relayed to me that it has been estimated, by some analytic review of crossover games, that if we were in the MVC that we would have had a playoff bound record over the last few years.

We do match up fairly well as far as offered sports. Many of these schools have a wider array of sports such as tennis, hockey, and some have swimming. However, overall we offer a slate of sports that matches up, and from what we have been told, not having some of those other sports would be no problem.

In addition, they have other activities which would fit us well, such as they offer nice music programs which we could slide into. Academically, these are good schools that match up with our programming and would offer increased awards and affiliations for our students. The schools in the MVC would also offer greater sharing and collaborative opportunities for our staff.

This discussion is heating up as something needs to happen prior to the 2013 fall season.

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