Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

November 28, 2012

KITCHELL: Irony in local sports

— It’s ironic that two of the major Indiana sports stories in the past week both involved larger athletic conferences.

At the local level, the item of immediate interest to Logansport High School fans, athletes, coaches and followers is that officials from the North Central Conference have approached officials from former conference member Lafayette Jeff and its Tippecanoe County contemporaries, McCutcheon and Harrison, about switching conferences. The move comes after the three Tippecanoe County schools’ fellow Hoosier Crossroads Conference members bypassed them to talk with other metro Indianapolis schools about forming a new super-Indy conference with mega schools. Jeff, along with Logansport, was among the charter members of the North Central Conference, but bolted the eight-team league for the likes of Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Brownsburg and Hamilton Southeastern. The results have been mostly dismal for the Tippecanoe schools, which are competing with burgeoning school corporations bursting at the seams with growth.

It’s easy to sit back and pretend the NCC can do without Jeff, let alone McCutcheon and Harrison. When Jeff exited, it didn’t take long for another black-and-red clad school about Jeff’s size to fill the void. Huntington gladly took over the slot and has had reasonable success.

Although the NCC has been an eight-team conference for the past half century, the fact remains that it was at 10 schools well before that when Frankfort and Indianapolis Tech were members. For that matter, even Rochester was a member of the conference for a short while.

While there is no precedent set for more than one school from a county joining the NCC, there’s certainly no reason why that’s an excuse to keep Harrison and McCutcheon from the league, other than pure tradition. For that matter, many NCC schools including Logansport already play one or all three of the Tippecanoe schools. The basketball sectional that includes Logansport and another NCC member, Kokomo, also includes all three Tippecanoe schools.

The timing for expanding the conference is good with the completion of the four-lane Hoosier Heartland Corridor which will shave travel times from Lafayette east to Logansport and Huntington. While a larger conference won’t mean more television revenue for the NCC, it could mean other advantages. A larger NCC could be split into divisions that limit the number of long distance conference games in favor of conference tournaments and meets to determine overall championships.

But if that move is made and it is the time for expansion, it would be the right time to consider expanding the NCC to include at least two other schools. Why? Because class sports have mixed enrollments of 3A and 4A schools in the league for football and it would enhance the league to add other teams with strong academic and athletic traditions. Adding Warsaw and Plymouth, for example, would allow the NCC to split into either north/south divisions or separate enrollment divisions that would be more competitive. Divisional play would cut down on travel times and make it more convenient for students, parents and fans to follow teams on the road.

Of course, any time conference expansion is mentioned, there are other names in the mix. Connersville is one that comes to mind, and even West Lafayette would not be out of the realm of possibility.

As for the Big Ten’s addition of Maryland and Rutgers, it’s really all about the number of television sets tuned to the Big Ten Network. The move, which creates a 14-team “Big Ten” (for those keeping count at home the Big 12 still has only 10 members), is maybe not the last expansion for the league. The move is a coup from the standpoint of pulling a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference away from the Chesapeake Bay to a Great Lakes conference. So much for ACC basketball superiority. It’s ironic that Notre Dame recently opted to join the ACC, but an ACC school is opting to join a Midwest conference. Rutgers will benefit from the luster of the Big Ten in the New York market and gives the conference an interesting dynamic with Northwestern – linking New York and Chicago in the same major conference.

Don’t expect the Big Ten to add UCLA any time soon to get another market, but don’t be surprised if Connecticut, Louisville, Memphis, Kansas State or even Wake Forest join forces with the Big Ten in the near future. Even if this is it for expansion, which is not likely, the Big Ten will be well positioned with revenue to be one of the top three conferences in the nation for years to come.

And if Notre Dame ever decides to join forces with the Big Ten, that would skyrocket the conference revenue to the top of the charts. But that will happen when the NBC peacock becomes an endangered species in South Bend, and Irish officials have refused to let that bird ever go South for the fiscal winter.

Meanwhile, keep your conference standings handy. There will be a quiz on affiliations.

• Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at ptnews@pharostribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • WOLFSIE: Giving a word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    August 1, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Stop spinning wheels and fund highways It is important that Congress act quickly to maintain sufficient funding levels in the Highway Trust Fund to pay for necessary highway projects.Indiana receives more than 40 percent of its total state highway and transit funding from the federal gove

    August 1, 2014

  • PETERS: Have a cup of joe to help your eyes? My day starts with coffee. I’m too cheap to buy it by the cup from baristas, so I just brew my own Folgers by the pot. I have a cup or two as I settle into work each morning, and another cup – sometimes two – in the early afternoon. That may not be w

    August 1, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Every town that has any sort of waterway -- whether it be a river or a creek or just a stream -- knows it will be used as a trash can. And oftentimes, tires are a favorite trash to be tossed into the waterways. Many organizations and concerned citize

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Data confirms our obsession with sports Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 30, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.