August 28, 2013

KITCHELL: NCC not Non-Commital Conference


2. Pursue the classic NCC image school. Harrison and McCutcheon aside, the NCC has virtually always been represented by schools that are county seat high schools in contiguous counties. There aren’t many of those fitting the enrollment template of the NCC schools available, but one possibility is Noblesville, which is unlikely given its move away from Lafayette, Jeff and Harrison in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference. The Millers are located in the seat of Hamilton County, which is near Anderson, Muncie and Marion. Noblesville is largely in the shadow of the 800-pound gorilla of Indiana high school sports, Carmel. Growing enrollments at schools such as Fishers and Hamilton Southeastern will no doubt make the Millers less significant in their conference in the years to come.

3. Pursue geographic balance. With the addition of three Tippecanoe County schools with one vote, the NCC members that have had the most to lose from the move are Richmond, Muncie and Anderson. Adding Connersville would provide a good fit for Richmond in particular. Connersville brings two state basketball championships to the table and has produced quality athletes such as former Butler star Matt Howard. Connersville has only recently joined another conference, but given the circumstances in the NCC, it’s worth considering for the NCC and Connersville.

4. Go green. No, this doesn’t have anything to do with being environmentally friendly or supporting Michigan State. But the conference could retain at least one school with green as a school color if it readmits a former conference member – Indianapolis Tech. At first blush, this may not sound like a natural fit, but it would give NCC schools more Indianapolis exposure, play to the strength of the tradition of the NCC and add a school that is clearly rebounding from some difficult years in inner city Indianapolis. The loss of New Castle and its largest high school gym in the world is a blow to the NCC, but playing games in downtown Indianapolis would take the sting out of it, particularly if NCC tournaments could be played in Indy. Logansport in particular traveled well when crowds made it to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis two years ago.

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