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Harper Creek, Marshall, Pennfield make plans to join new league

1:00 AM, Jul. 05, 2013 EDT

A new league, including several area teams, is on the verge of being created, pending the approval of the various school boards involved.

Local teams Harper Creek, Pennfield, Marshall and Coldwater are reportedly making plans to create a new league that would also include Jackson Parma Western, Jackson Northwest, Jackson Lumen Christi and Charlotte. The new league would begin play in 2014-15.

Various athletic directors at some of the key schools have told the Enquirer they have been working to create the new league, but must get approval from their respective school boards before moving forward or commenting on the change. Each are said to be waiting for their next respective board meeting to await approval. The Coldwater Board of Education was one of the first to vote to approve joining the new proposed league and mentioned in the meeting minutes the other schools involved.

Harper Creek, Marshall and Coldwater are all in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference. Of the 16 schools in the SMAC, Harper Creek, Marshall and Coldwater are among the smallest schools in terms of enrollment. Creating a league with schools closer to their size seems to be the goal.

Harper Creek (with an enrollment of 780 in 2012-13), Marshall (723) and Coldwater (912), have been competing against schools such as Kalamazoo Central (1,610), Battle Creek Central (1,429), Loy Norrix (1,364) and Lakeview (1,347).

Pennfield is currently in the Kalamazoo Valley Association. Pennfield, with an enrollment of 656, is one of the biggest schools in its current league.

The other schools involved in the new league -- Jackson NW (863), Parma Western (855) and Charlotte (851) -- are all close to the B.C.-area schools in terms of number of students. Lumen Christi, at 472, is on the low end.

The creation of a new league would also create adjustments for the current area leagues. The 16-team SMAC would be missing three teams right away, and it has been reported that SMAC East Division-school Sturgis is also looking to move to a new league.

The KVA would also be looking to replace Pennfield.



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