RECORDS & AWARDS
North Central Conference Looking to Benefit from Growth
October 25, 2013Richmond High School
by FRANKLIN CRIST (RadioTroy.com)
RICHMOND, Ind. – With the current eight-team makeup of the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s North Central Conference, the NCC is easily one of the nations largest geographical high school athletic conferences in the nation. Travel time is the main concern as the longest commute between two schools (Richmond, Logansport) is roughly two and a half hours. So what has the NCC done to cut down on travel time and expenses? Added three schools from the Lafayette area.
“We all know that the NCC is a geography problem.” Stated Richmond High School Athletic Director Chad Bolser. “Travel has been an issue since the conference was created in 1926, and is still the issue now. You can’t pick eight schools from this area that are comparable to Richmond in size and athletic standing, you just can’t. With the addition of the three Lafayette schools and some modifications to the conference, I think this will benefit us all.”
There’s no doubt that adding 3 schools from Lafayette is going to increase travel time, but that’s when teams have to make the long trips. The NCC has decided to go to divisional play within the conference with hopefully expanding to an eventual twelve-team conference. Due to the spread of the schools, sports such as football would play other teams in its respective six-team division, and will then play 3 other schools from the other division.
“There are two different ways we can go about this, we can reduce the conference, or we can grow it. Twelve is a good number because six teams make up each division and it will just work out that way. From a glance, you may say, oh well with the addition of the three Lafayette schools, Richmond will have more traveling. Yes, but not all the time. With our main sport in girls and boys basketball, we travel around the state to play good competition anyway. I don’t see where we can be hurt in that regard.”
With the exit of Huntington North in 2015-2016 (Northeast Hoosier) and New Castle (Hoosier Heritage) after this year to their respective new conferences, the newly created NCC will be left with nine schools after adding Lafayette Jefferson, Lafayette McCutcheon, and Lafayette Harrison, whom will all come over from the Hoosier Crossroads Conference. Bids have been received by other schools wanting membership to the NCC and have yet to be announced.
“Having the Lafayette schools will be huge. We are already well covered in Fort Wayne, Muncie, somewhat in Kokomo and Indianapolis, but having that coverage all the way over there will be key. The expansion will allow us to become even that much more diverse. In the end, conference tournaments for sports such as swimming, golf, cross country and track will be that much more competitive. They’ll take longer and be a big more complicated sure, but the competition will be great having all these teams come together playing for a conference title.”
In the end, many of the schools are welcoming the facelift to the NCC and are excited for the change. With a plan in order and more potential schools possibly joining the up and coming conference, the North Central Conference looks to become one of Indiana’s premier athletic leagues come next fall.