Reed City AD reveals thoughts on CSAA expansion proposal

BIG RAPIDS — The proposed expansion of the Central State Activities Association is starting to take shape.

After the members of the CSAA decided in March to go forward with plans of expansion and to start accepting applications from interested schools, the schools have started to vote on whether to accept applications from four schools: Kent City, Tri County, Grant and Fremont.

Recently the school boards of CSAA members Chippewa Hills, Big Rapids and Morley Stanwood approved the proposed additions of those four schools.

Under the current proposal, the additions of the four schools would create two separate


One division would include Freemont, Grant, Tri City, Reed City, Big Rapids, Chippewa Hills, Central Montcalm and Newaygo. The other would have six teams, including Hesperia, Holton, Lakeview, Morley Stanwood, White Cloud and Kent City.

“I think overall, this is a step for the bigger schools to try and help the smaller schools by balancing out the competition,” Reed City athletic director Monty Price said in mid-May while anticipating his school board would soon take action.

While the two divisions will both be considered part of the CSAA, they would work independently from each other with no crossover games between divisions unless the schools agree to face one another. In that case, the games will be considered non-conference matchups.

Like many of the recent conference expansions, Morley Stanwood athletic director Clark Huntey said football is the one sport that’s really driving the expansion efforts.

“The biggest reason for the split is football,” he said. “You have schools that have attendance numbers in the 300s competing against teams that have enrollment numbers of 700-to-900 students. This split will help provide a competitive balance for the smaller schools.”

While football is the focus of the expansion efforts, the sports that only a few schools offer won’t be forgotten.

According to Price, depending on the sport, if it is a sport that not every school offers, a third division will be created for those schools with those sports.

“Each division will have to have at least four schools offering that specific sport in order to have conference competition,” he said. “Say you have seven schools in one division that have a soccer team, but only two schools in the other division offer that sport. In that situation, we would create a third division just for that sport and put all nine of those schools in it.”

Currently, the cap for the two divisions is set at eight teams apiece. With two spots open in the one division, Big Rapids AD Nick Scheible said the league athletic directors will meet in June to hammer out some more details and accept applications to try and fill the two final spots.

“We’ll open that meeting up for other schools to come in and ask some questions and we’ll see if we can find a few more schools,” he said. “Hopefully, within a month or two, we’ll have everything set. But, we’re not going to rush into anything. We’re all comfortable going forward with the current six and eight team divisions if we don’t feel like we can fill those two spots right now.”

The proposed expansion would be in effect starting in the 2014-15 sports seasons.

“I think everyone is excited about what these new additions will offer to our conference,” Price said. “We’ll keep working on things and we’ll see where we go from here.”