By DYLAN MALONE
I had the opportunity to partake in the ACAC tournament luncheon yesterday at the Back 40 Junction and it reminded me how much I love good food. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner in a buffet line there every time I go.
That’s not all I was reminded of, thank goodness.
No, among all of the conversations between principals, athletic directors, coaches, and media members, the one that stuck out most in my mind was the one about conference realignment.
I hear mumbles and I hear grumbles everywhere I go about who should be here in a perfect world and what school should go to you know where because they just don’t belong here and all that mumbo-jumbo. I usually don’t believe when I hear someone say that change is coming to the NHC and ACAC but based on the amount of people I heard discussing it I hope that the tides are turning.
First of all, Bellmont fans should appreciate that Homestead and Carroll are not wanted in the NHC by many. According to a few sources, the sheer size of those two schools compared to the little guys like Bellmont and Norwell is a point of notice…you think?
Other than the fantastic volleyball program or the perennially scary wrestling squads put together by the passionate Braves’ coaches, Bellmont has a difficult mountain to climb every year against those gargantuan schools.
Homestead’s football team has so many kids on the sidelines that they have numbers for defense and numbers for offense because some of the numbers overlap and the sport discourages triple-digit uniform numbers, obviously. The Spartans laugh when they see that most of our starters play both offense and defense.
The same could be said about Leo in the ACAC. Another person with knowledge of the conferences noted that the Lions inquired about joining the NHC earlier this year. GOOD!
Perhaps it’s because I am graced with the vision of being placed directly in the middle of Adams County and I can see clearly how much common sense it would make to move conferences but I think the people who need to see are starting to take notice.
Bellmont should be in the ACAC. It just makes sense. Leo should be in the NHC. Another no-brainer.
So swap them! Year in and year out the Lions dominate the ACAC in most sports and yet when it comes time to play in the tournaments they usually fade into the sunset (as does Homestead). It would be mutually beneficial to move the Lions up to the big boys of the NHC where the competition would do them some good.
On the flip side, geographically, why in the world is Bellmont not in the ACAC? Getting rid of Leo means one less drive into the boonies for a school like Southern Wells. The Raiders to Leo-Cedarville in a bus? That’s a 112-mile round trip…and on a school night no less. Mothers dread those road trips I’m sure.
There will still be lot of travelling with conference realignment of course but Bellmont would not have to drive to DeKalb for a conference matchup if they joined the ACAC. The school that just doesn’t seem to fit anywhere is Garrett. East Noble too on the NHC side.
There was talk of Churubusco and even Fremont joining the NHC.
The whole idea of the realignment would suit everyone involved as far as a money issue. Mileage alone would make a great point in playing red-rover with Bellmont and Leo. With the size of Heritage growing at the closing of Harding, the Braves/Squaws would definitely renew that rivalry with the Patriots in a lot of sports with a conference to share.
If Bellmont does not leave the NHC, Carroll and Homestead should get out. The SAC (Summit Athletic Conferene) may be the only sensible solution there. That conference is where the big boys play and maybe that’s what scares Homestead and Carroll.
Those schools have been at the top of the totem pole for so long they don’t really want to come down. An annual schedule of North Side, South Side, Wayne, the Bishops, Concordia, Snider, and Northrop may be just what the doctor ordered for those Fort Wayne schools who somehow slipped through the cracks when they built a power conference for Allen County’s finest.
Let’s add Bellmont to the ACAC because of how great the rivalry already is between the three county schools. How much greater would the fan base be if there was a conference title on the line? Particularly in football, who wouldn’t want to see AC/Bellmont square off again? I think it’s time we do some shifting.