Once realignment plan was unveiled, WIAA wasn’t looking back

Coach Dave Hinkens and the Xavier football team will move to the Bay Conference for the 2015-16 season. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)
Coach Dave Hinkens and the Xavier football team will move to the Bay Conference for the 2015-16 season. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)

The response from the WIAA approving the Green Bay realignment plan on Wednesday was expected

Schools like Green Bay East and West were pleased, while Xavier was not. All three schools were represented at the Board of Control meeting on Wednesday where the final vote was cast with a 10-1 result in favor of the plan.

The bottom line is when you’re trying to put this puzzle together, which included 76 pieces (schools), how you do you fit them in a way everybody will be happy?

You can’t.

East and West wanted out of the Fox River Classic Conference, which has nine schools with enrollments over 1,000, because each has become bottom-feeders in basically every sport in the FRCC and has been a victim of lopsided scores.

The WIAA granted their wish for a move to the smaller Bay Conference, and if you’re not familiar with the Bay, it’s not a “cupcake” conference. East and West will have their hands full once again in a conference in which they are the only schools with four-figure enrollments.

The move on paper looks good, but don’t expect East or West to become giants in the Bay anytime soon. A larger enrollment doesn’t cure what’s going on with East and West.

As for Xavier, it will be in the Bay with East and West and from a competitive standpoint the Hawks will be fine. Xavier is competitive in almost every sport.

Xavier’s feeling against the realignment was simple: it was leaving the Eastern Valley and three nearby teams — Fox Valley Lutheran, Little Chute and Freedom — it has established great rivalries with for a new league.

The WIAA made clear through this process rivalries were not going to play a factor and they didn’t. Furthermore, Xavier is concerned about being the smallest school in the Bay, thinking the football team could be exposed to more injuries.

However, this past football season Xavier beat future Bay foes West De Pere and Seymour in the playoffs, proving it can play with “bigger” teams.

The realignment plan was football driven, meaning this came about to make conferences more equal in the sport from an enrollment and geographical view, but did the WIAA accomplish its goal?

Once this plan was unveiled, the WIAA wasn’t looking back, no matter what member schools said. In a December meeting many schools voiced their opposition to the plan and the architect behind the plan, the associate director of the WIAA, Deb Hauser, listened to every concern.

Still, she didn’t budge.

Wednesday, there were only a few schools at the meeting to voice their opinion one, last time, because they knew their fate was already sealed.

The WIAA accomplished its goal, which was approving this plan. It will give the area a new look in a year and a half when the conferences take their new shape.

In some ways it’ll be exciting to see new rivalries and watch teams play each other that never did before.

New is good … but not all the time.

Xavier has to live with its new home, as do other schools like Brillion (moving from Olympian to Eastern Wisconsin) and Wrightstown (Olympian to Eastern Valley), which no longer will continue their great rivalry at least on a consistent basis.

In time maybe this will grow on everybody. If not, don’t be surprised if there is another realignment plan in about five years.

Board of Control president Dean Sanders even mentioned that Wednesday.

If that’s the case, what’s the point of this realignment? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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