WIAA Proposes Football Realignment; End of WI Valley Conf. Near?

The Wisconsin Valley Conference could very well be on it's last legs in football. I just learned today that a realignment is in the works with a couple of conferences on the western part of the state.

This is all coming about because the Valley will be down to 6 teams in football, with Rhinelander bailing out after this past season, and difficulty scheduling non-conference games.

The proposal would combine the existing teams from the Valley with the Big Rivers and Mississippi Valley and could happen as early as 2010.

The current proposal looks like this, based solely on enrollment. Valley schools SPASH, Rapids, DC Everest, Marshfield and Wausau West combined with 5 Big Rivers members: Eau Claire Memorial, Hudson, Superior, Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire North.

"Superior's the furthest one away. And then you end up with Hudson as a second one," said Everest athletic director Jack Overgaard. "That's a lot closer than Milwaukee. I don't see a whole lot of cons there. The biggest plus for us and a lot of schools is you fill your schedule. To get the 9 games and get them in there."

The smaller conference would have Mississippi Valley schools La Crosse Central, La Crosse Logan, Holmen, Tomah, Onalaska and Sparta. Wausau East would be in this one, along with Big Rivers teams River Falls and Menomonie, and then either Rice Lake or La Crosse Aquinas.

Based on this alignment, that would mean the end of the Log Game between East and West.

"Whenever you have changes or put plans into place, there are always some great things about it and there are always some downsides," West athletic director Pam Huston. "Is that a con to this plan, yeah it's a con. But in the greater good of 20 schools, it might be one of those things that fall by the wayside for the betterment of all."

This will go before the WIAA board of control in March, if they vote to approve it, any of the 20 schools have 40 days to vote against it, then the process starts over.

West and Everest are both comfortable moving forward with this. Wausua East didn't want to comment on it today, SPASH is in favor of a change their concern being JV and freshman teams and the logistics, Marshfield is undecided and Rapids would like a change as well.

This is for football only, no other sports would be affected.

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