UPDATED: NEMC future up in air, but not gone...yet
UPDATED: The Northeast Michigan Conference will fold after the 2010-11 school year.
During the West Branch-Rose City regular board meeting on Dec. 21, athletic director Andrew Pratley made a presentation, which told of the conference’s fate. He also presented an application to apply to the Big North Conference. That conference currently consists of Sault St. Marie, Cheboygan, Traverse City Central, Traverse City West, Petoskey, Alpena, Gaylord and Cadillac. According to www.mapquest.com, Gaylord is the closest school from the Big North Conference in relation to Ogemaw Heights at 70.83 miles apart from one another.
“Now the Big North will review and choose whether to accept our application,” said Superintendent Dave Marston. “We expect to hear back within 60 days.”
Marston said the BNC is scheduled to meet in January.
He said the thought process for Ogemaw was that they’re a pretty big school for the area, with not many schools its size nearby. He said another option would have been to look into the Tri-Valley Conference in the Saginaw area. However, he said OHHS already schedules many teams from BNC.
The future of the Northeast Michigan Conference was called into question as Tawas Area Schools withdrew itself from the league a few weeks ago. And even before then, Marston said the board has been aware for some time now that the NEMC was becoming less viable each year.
The move by Tawas came after it requested to be dropped from the conference for football only, Whittemore-Prescott Athletic Director Jeff Erickson told the W-P school board during its November meeting. He said the other conference teams took to a vote, which ultimately did not allow Tawas to withdraw from football only as it had pleased. However, upon receiving the news, Tawas withdrew itself from the league entirely. Erickson said Oscoda also made the same request last year and was voted out of the league because of it.
Erickson told the W-P school board on Dec. 14 that several of the teams had moved to start a new conference that was to include W-P, Tawas, Standish-Sterling, Pinconning, Oscoda and Alcona. However, he said Alcona asked to be removed from consideration if Standish-Sterling and Pinconning were included. So, he said, that idea came to an abrupt halt, which is where it still stands.
Standish-Sterling Community Education also voted Dec. 14 to remove itself from the league at its regular board meeting. However, Andrew Pratley told the Herald on Dec. 15 that after attending an NEMC meeting earlier in the day, Standish had withdrawn its removal request because the school had assumed the league had already disbanded, which was not the case.
But on Dec. 21, the West Branch-Rose City school board voted to submit an application to the Big North Conference.