Three more schools might be trying to flee the Tri-Rivers Conference.
Representatives from East Buchanan, Maquoketa Valley and North Linn met with Upper Iowa Conference athletics directors Wednesday with hopes of possibly escaping a possible Tri-Rivers/Big East combination.
“The superintendents are the ones that would have to accept us, but the (UIC) ADs recommended that they do so,” said Pat Schloss, athletics director at East Buchanan.
“We really don’t want to go to Clinton (Prince of Peace). Preston and Bellevue Marquette, those are some long hauls.”
The UIC currently consists of 11 schools — Clayton Ridge, Elkader Central, Lansing Kee, MFL MarMac, North Fayette, Postville, South Winneshiek, Sumner-Fredericksburg, Turkey Valley, Valley Community and West Central.
Tri-Rivers members Starmont and Edgewood-Colesburg already have been accepted into the UIC, beginning with the 2013-14 school year. If the other three join, it will probably be at the same time.
A mediation group recommended a Tri-Rivers/Big East combo in February. The Iowa Department of Education will rule on the matter by the end of May.
“We’re just in the wait-and-see mode,” said North Linn AD Mike Hilmer. “Quite honestly, we hadn’t given much thought to the UIC until we heard East Buchanan and Maquoketa Valley were thinking about going to the meeting.
“We’ve been used to being in the middle of the Tri-Rivers (geographically). Now, either way, we’re going to be on the edge of one of these new conferences.”
Schloss said a 16-team UIC could be divided into two divisions. But not necessarily.
If East Buchanan, Maquoketa Valley and North Linn are admitted to the UIC, it would leave just three schools — Alburnett, Central City and Springville — from the original Tri-Rivers, which was formed in the 1960s.