For the better part of my tenure with View Newspapers, we’ve had nothing but conference changes. It continued this year and will next year and beyond. Frankly, it’s just getting difficult – and annoying – to keep track of.
Recently we were working on our season previews and I asked an unnamed football coach what he thought of the league changes. His answer sounded like a challenge to me: “I would like to see a realignment of area teams into new conferences that would make sense for everyone. I believe this can be done.”
He was right.
I looked at all of the schools within the Saginaw Valley League, Flint Metro League, Genesee Area Conference and Mid-Michigan Activities Conference and reformatted it. I’m not saying that it’s perfect, but I did my best to consider enrollment, competitive balance and location.
For obvious travel reasons, I left out a handful of teams from those conferences. The way I see it, you can either form three different conferences of nine teams apiece, or you can create a mega conference with three different divisions. The latter would make it a bit easier to fill dates with crossover contests.
The first division would consist of Grand Blanc, Lapeer, Davison, Carman-Ainsworth, Flushing, Fenton, Holly, Swartz Creek and Linden.
The second division would be comprised of Flint, Flint Powers Catholic, Clio, Kearsley, Brandon, Goodrich, Lake Fenton, Montrose and New Lothrop.
Lastly, the third division would include Atherton, Bendle, Bentley, Flint Beecher, Flint Hamady, Byron, Mt. Morris, LakeVille and Durand. Like I said, I know it’s not perfect, but enrollment and competitive balance were the main factors. Plus, it keeps any school in the area from having to travel an hour or more for a conference game.
There were obvious exceptions from the current conferences such as Owosso, Corunna, Chesaning, Ovid-Elsie, and the nine northern schools in the SVL.
There were also four other schools I considered; Burton Madison Academy, International Academy of Flint, Genesee and Genesee Christian. However, I excluded them due to enrollment. They’re all so small that all of them either have to play 8-man football or don’t have a gridiron program at all.
It’s just an idea, but I feel that it would work very well for all of the area schools. There’s no point in traveling an hour or more for league games when you have schools of similar size and competitive levels right in your own backyard.
Luckily, the SVL made it easier geographically this year with putting all the Flint-area teams in one division, but I still feel that more can be done. A conference comprising all of the area schools is ideal, but I doubt anything of this nature will ever occur. And with the number of GAC teams quickly dwindling, a time like this is especially important.
It’s time for these schools to come together instead of joining a conference in a desperate panic when their former league falls apart.