GREEN BAY - Monday, the WIAA sent an e-mail to area athletic directors mapping out its initial plan to realign several conferences in Northeastern Wisconsin and while the plan has drawn different reactions from everybody, it's far from being set in stone.
That's what Green Bay East athletic director Tim Flood said Wednesday.
"This is the first thing that came out," Flood said. "Now, it's about questions, concerns of the schools involved. I would say this is probably the first of five or six plans that will be out there."
For now, though, it's the only plan and the plan opened eyes. For example, Green Bay East and Green Bay West are due to leave the Fox River Classic Conference for the Bay Conference, while Menasha (Fox Valley Association to the Bay) and Hortonville (Bay to the FVA) are slated to replace each other in their current conferences.
Furthermore, rivalries could be interrupted as Neenah and Menasha would be in different conferences as would Kewaunee and Algoma, Wrightstown and Brillion and Xavier and Fox Valley Lutheran.
The conference with the most movement is the Bay. Three teams – Hortonville, Denmark and Oconto Falls – would leave in this proposal, while Menasha, East, West and Xavier are to enter, making the nine-team conference a 10-team league.
"Oconto Falls and Denmark talked about moving because they're getting a little small for the Bay," Flood said.
East, with an enrollment of 1,267, would be the only Bay school with a student body of more than 1,000, but Flood said the number's deceiving and that his school would fit in.
"Our enrollment looks huge, but it really isn't," Flood said. "Last year, we had 400 students come in and out of the high school. Look at that number and we don't have a true 1,200 number. I think we're on par with the rest of the schools."
Right now, the Red Devils compete in the FRCC where their enrollment ranks seventh, and Flood admits his school struggles in the conference. That is why East and West have looked to leave the league.
"We've been working on this for two years now," Flood said. "We've talked about moving to a different conference, the Bay Conference. When the plan came out on Monday, this is what we envisioned. This would be a good move for us."
If East does move to the Bay, Flood likes what some of the schools have to offer.
"I think there are solid programs in the conference," he said. "Seymour's boys basketball, New London's girls basketball, West De Pere's baseball and football; every school has very strong athletic programs. I think we'll be competitive within this conference."
Flood said leaving the FRCC, in some ways, would put a smile on the face of the remaining schools in the league. Going down to 10 teams would cure a lot of problems a 12-team league offers.
In the current 12-team league, not every team plays each other in football, creating advantages and disadvantages. Also, in basketball, the FRCC is split into divisions and because of that not every team plays a home-and-home series with every team.
A 10-team league eliminates this from happening which leads to balance in the schedule.
"A 12-team conference is very difficult," Flood said. "You can talk to all the FRCC athletic directors and they'll tell you the same thing. Scheduling is just easier (with 10 schools)."
While Flood supports the plan for East, he said this is a process and what is proposed now could change.
"Everyone's taking a look at it now," Flood said. "Some schools are happy, some schools are probably not happy and so there's going to be a discussion. I know (WIAA associate director) Deb Hauser's going to be going to the different conferences and talking at their meetings about the plan.
"I would imagine she'll tweak it a little bit after talking to all the schools and send another proposal out and wait for another reaction. I would say if everybody's somewhat happy – I don't know if everyone will be happy – if it's formalized by next fall, I would imagine that the possibility would be for the school year after. If it's formalized in the winter or spring, it'll be 2015-16."
Flood stressed the WIAA doesn't need each school to agree to the realignment. The WIAA will listen to the concerns of the schools and then make a decision, just like it did two years ago when the FVA was forced to combine with the Wisconsin Valley for football, creating the Valley Football Association. It was a move the FVA schools didn't like and still don't like.
However, with this realignment plan, the VFA may disband.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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