Administrators from the seven Indianapolis-area Hoosier Crossroads Conference schools met Friday and voted to cut ties with the three Lafayette area schools.
Administrators from Lafayette Jeff, McCutcheon and Harrison high schools confirmed to the Lafayette Journal and Courier on Friday that they were told by Brownsburg principal Bret Daghe, the president of the HCC, that the conference planned to go in a different direction following the 2013-14 school year.
Lafayette Jeff Principal Jeff Studebaker said Daghe told him transportation costs, travel time, differences in school size and competitive balance were factors in the decision.
Brownsburg athletic director Greg Hill said the administrators of the seven HCC schools met Friday, but declined to discuss the nature of the meeting. He said the HCC would make an official announcement "soon" but wasn't sure when that would be. Daghe declined to comment, writing in an e-mail that "those involved from all ten HCC schools have not had a chance to meet face-to-face."
Lafayette Jeff athletic director Mark Preston said the three Lafayette-area schools knew the other HCC schools were meeting to discuss the situation on Friday.
"I knew it's where they wanted to go, it was just them finding the time to make that decision," McCutcheon athletic director Ryan Walden said.
As previously reported, there has been discussion between the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference and the local members of the HCC, in addition to a handful of other area schools, about forming an Indianapolis-area superconference. The local members of the HCC -- Avon, Brownsburg, Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville -- could also add an eighth program and remain a separate conference.
The eight-school MIC voted this fall to replace Terre Haute North and South with Pike and Lawrence Central, beginning with the 2014-15 school year. The other MIC schools are Ben Davis, Carmel, Center Grove, Lawrence North, North Central and Warren Central.
Harrison, Lafayette Jeff and McCutcheon had recently opened a dialogue with the North Central Conference, which is considering expansion. No meetings have been held between the three Tippecanoe County schools and the NCC membership. Due to a lack of Class 4A schools in the west-central Indiana area, Harrison, Lafayette Jeff and McCutcheon could be forced into independent status if the NCC option does not materialize.
"There is some disappointment," Preston said. "The coaches feel bad for the kids, and I think that's who gets stuck in the middle of things like this. Let's be honest, if things don't work out with the NCC, our kids won't be playing for any conference championships. When these decisions are made everyone is looking out for the best interests of their own schools and own kids."