If everything falls into place, Waupaca High School will have a new conference for football starting in 2015.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, which oversees high school sports in Wisconsin, released its latest conference realignment proposal Oct. 11. That plan calls for the Comets moving to the Bay Conference for football only and remaining in a revamped Eastern Valley Conference for all other sports. The exceptions are boys’ and girls’ hockey, which will remain in the Great Northern Conference.
“What the WIAA has proposed for Waupaca is a conference consisting of Marinette, Oconto Falls, Luxemburg-Casco, Denmark, Freedom, Little Chute, Fox Valley Lutheran, Clintonville, Wrightstown and ourselves,” WHS athletic director Carl Eggebrecht said. “With that, they’re doing a proposal for football which would allow us to go over to the Bay Conference. They’re trying to balance out the enrollments of each school. Since Waupaca is the largest school in the new Eastern Valley Conference, they’re trying to balance things out for football. They’re offering a nine-school conference for football.”
Besides Waupaca, the Bay football league would include Appleton Xavier, Green Bay East, Green Bay West, Menasha, New London, Seymour, Shawano and West De Pere. Along with the Comets, Xavier, Menasha, Seymour and West De Pere are perennial playoff football teams.
A nine-team conference means each team would play one nonconference football game each year, according to Eggebrecht.
“I hope the mutual agreement would be to utilize the Eastern Valley schools,” he said. “They will have a nine-school conference and we could just match up with those schools when we have a bye.”
The plan is not yet set in stone.
“There are a couple of things that aren’t finalized,” Eggebrecht said. “There’s one appeal process on Dec. 6. Anyone can go to the WIAA and either appeal or support the recommendation.”
Deb Hauser, the WIAA associate director in charge of conference realignment, met with area athletic directors Sept. 25 in Appleton and unveiled a plan that called for Waupaca remaining in the Eastern Valley and Xavier moving to the Bay.
“She mentioned that the (Wisconsin Football Coaches Association) is looking very heavily once again at districts for football,” Eggebrecht said. “That would entail eight schools in a league and they would be competing throughout the year. This may be a moot point going down the road. We’ll have wait and see how this falls into place.”
Xavier athletic director Kathy Bates told Hauser at the Sept. 25 meeting that Xavier did not want to leave the Eastern Valley and suggested that Waupaca be moved to the Bay for all sports instead.
“Kathy Bates would rather have us go (to the Bay) than they go,” Eggebrecht said. “Kathy brought up Xavier’s rivalry with Fox Valley Lutheran, but Deb said, ‘I don’t take that into consideration.’”
The realignment process started after a request from the Green Bay Area Public School District.
“They see a whole different demographic in their school system,” Eggebrecht said. “(Green Bay) East and West may have a student enrollment of 1,150 at West and 1,350 at East, but a lot of students at those two schools don’t get really get involved in outside school activities. They requested getting into a conference with a smaller student enrollment.”
Both schools have struggled in several sports in their current league, the Fox River Classic Conference.
Besides East and West, the new Eastern Valley for nonfootball sports would include Marinette, Oconto Falls, Luxemburg-Casco and Denmark, currently in the Bay; Clintonville, Fox Valley Lutheran, Fox Valley Lutheran, Freedom and Little Chute, currently in the Eastern Valley; and Wrightstown, currently in the Olympian. Three schools currently in the Eastern Valley – Berlin, Winneconne and Ripon – would move to a new, unnamed conference with Campbellsport, Kettle Moraine Lutheran, Kewaskum, Plymouth and Waupun.
“Our stance was to support the conference that we’re in and add one or take one out to get an even number of schools,” Eggebrecht said. “After listening to all the different conference requests, I think Deb Hauser and the WIAA did a very adequate job of trying to listen and see what’s workable for everybody.”
The WIAA Board of Control is scheduled to vote on Hauser’s latest proposal Dec. 6. The board’s options are to approve, reject or modify the plan. Schools would have until Jan. 14, 2014, to file an appeal of the Dec. 6 vote and final action could take place as early as February 2014.
“The best thing is to get us into a 10-school conference,” Eggebrecht said. “I am concerned with distance, but that’s the least of our worries. That can be worked out. We’ve done that with both conferences we’re in now, the Eastern Valley and the Great Northern.
“We’re going to be traveling somewhat to Marinette, Oconto Falls and Luxemburg-Casco, but those activities will end up being on weekends or on vacation days,” he added. “Our nonconference schedule (teams) will be much closer. We won’t going to Denmark for a nonconference game in basketball. We might end up playing Xavier for a nonconference game.”
Conference realingment plan
The WIAA released its latest conference realignment plan – which affects Waupaca, Clintonville and New London high schools – Oct. 11. If the plan receives final approval, it would go into effect beginning with the 2015-16 school year.
Eastern Valley Conference (football only): Clintonville, Denmark, Fox Valley Lutheran, Freedom, Little Chute, Luxemburg-Casco, Marinette, Oconto Falls, Wrightstown.
Eastern Valley Conference (other sports): Clintonville, Denmark, Fox Valley Lutheran, Freedom, Little Chute, Luxemburg-Casco, Marinette, Oconto Falls, Waupaca, Wrightstown.
Bay Conference (football only): Appleton Xavier, Green Bay East, Green Bay West, Menasha, New London, Seymour, Shawano, Waupaca, West De Pere.
Bay Conference (other sports): Appleton Xavier, Green Bay East, Green Bay West, Menasha, New London, Seymour, Shawano, West De Pere.