W-P accepted into North Star League
WHITTEMORE — Starting in the fall, Whittemore-Prescott will be a member of the North Star League.
W-P Athletic Director Jeff Erickson said NSL athletic directors voted to approve W-P as a member during a league meeting Jan. 14.
He announced the school’s new league affiliation during the Jan. 14 school board meeting.
“We are moving forward with the expansion of the North Star League to include Whittemore-Prescott, Oscoda, Alcona and Rogers City. We’ll be joining the league to make a nine-team conference (for football),” he said.
W-P, Alcona and Oscoda are currently members of the Huron Shores Conference, along with Tawas. Erickson said Tawas did not wish to join the NSL.
“Their board, as I understand it, voted to do something different,” he said. “I don’t know what it is at this time.”
Overall, 12 teams will belong to the NSL starting in the 2013-14 school year.
Erickson said for football, there will be nine teams competing, as two NSL schools, Arenac Eastern and Au Gres-Sims, compete as one squad, and Fairview does not have a football team. Arenac Eastern and Au Gres-Sims also compete as a consolidated team in volleyball.
While there will be 12 members in the NSL next year, Terry Gillette, the athletic director at current NSL member Mio AuSable, said Hillman had submitted a letter of intent to leave the league.
However, it does not appear Hillman will leave the league next year.
“Well, we could have voted to let them out of the league and it was on our agenda to do that, but at the meeting today, they asked us to table that for now,” he said. “So I guess they will stay in for now.”
Erickson said athletic directors have already begun working to put together schedules for next year.
“We’re looking at some preliminary scheduling,” he said. “We’ll be meeting again in February to figure out exactly what we’re going to be doing.”
Gillette said having more schools in the league also makes it easier for teams to schedule games in sports other current league schools do not have.
“We have wrestling and a lot of our other league schools don’t have it, so it is a lot harder to put a schedule together,” he said. “Fairview has a soccer program and not a lot of us have that. This might make it so they can have a mini-league for those sports and play more games. I just think this opens up a lot of opportunities.”
While W-P was accepted unanimously, one league member, Hale, has requested not to play the Cards in football. The Hale school board voted Jan. 14 to approve W-P as a member, but added the stipulation that the Eagles not be scheduled to play W-P in football.
Hale Superintendent Ron Kraft said the decision was based on player safety.
“My recommendation is based purely on the safety of our students,” Kraft said. “We are in a different situation as far as numbers and physicality goes in relation to Whittemore. I’m not saying we have to win all the time, but we have to do what’s best and safest for our kids.”
Kraft added Hale may pursue competing in eight-man football, rather than the traditional 11-man format.
The North Star League currently includes Au Gres-Sims, Arenac Eastern, Mio AuSable, Fairview, Atlanta, Hale, Hillman and Posen.