When Conference Indiana athletic directors meet today at Columbus Youth Camp as part of the Conference Indiana Youth Leadership retreat, they’ll have plenty to talk about.
The eight-team Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference has recently announced plans to expand, possibly to a 16-team super-conference. Some of the targeted schools are members of eight-team Conference Indiana.
“I’ve been talking to a lot of the other athletic directors in the conference and just trying to get their take,” said conference president and Columbus North athletic director Jeff Hester. “Right now, it’s really in the infancy stages. It really wasn’t spoken about in any of our Conference Indiana meetings because we didn’t know how serious the MIC was about taking any of our members.”
Two of the MIC’s targeted members are Pike and Lawrence Central from the metropolitan Indianapolis area.
“Pike has real potential of leaving,” Hester said. “It’s been rumored for years that Pike is interested in going to the MIC. I have spoken to Lawrence Central, and their preference is to stay in Conference Indiana.”
A look at the eight schools in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference and Conference Indiana:
MIC: Ben Davis, Carmel, Center Grove, Lawrence North, North Central, Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South, Warren Central.
Conference Indiana: Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Columbus North, Franklin Central, Lawrence Central, Perry Meridian, Pike, Southport.
So if the MIC pilfers Pike and possibly Franklin Central, Perry Meridian and Southport from Conference Indiana, the conference would be in position to pick up one or more teams from elsewhere. Hester said Conference Indiana is pleased with eight teams and has no plans to expand, but would need to replace departing members.
One school that would not be interested in a move to Conference Indiana is Columbus East. Athletic director and football coach Bob Gaddis said the Olympians are happy in the Hoosier Hills Conference, where they are founding members.
“There’s 20 sports at this school, not just football,” Gaddis said. “It’s a great conference for us, and we’re not interested in moving.”
That will leave Conference Indiana to pursue other schools if it loses teams to the MIC.
“I’m sure we’re going to be talking about it (today) just to say ‘Hey, what’s going on and what’s the latest?’’ Hester said. “We enjoy competing with one another. We feel that Conference Indiana is one of the best conferences in the state across the board. But change happens, and sometimes change can be a good thing.”
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