Principals and athletics directors of the 24 schools in the Mississippi Valley and Mississippi Athletic Conferences convened Wednesday afternoon at Kirkwood Community College to talk about the future of Class 4A football on this side of the state. After three hours, nothing was decided.
That’s not completely true. The decision was made to continue the discussion later.
“We’re going to try and meet again sometime before the 20th,” said Cedar Rapids Xavier Principal Tom Keating. “I think people just digested all the conversation we had, the information they heard. They want to kind of take it (in), roll it around and then get back together again.”
Central and Western Iowa went to 4A district football two years ago, while the MVC and MAC kept their leagues intact. With a new cycle in 2014, MAC schools voted in late October to reopen district discussions.
They want to be able to play MVC schools during the regular season. MVC schools don’t want their historic conference to stop playing football.
“There is lots of pride in both of our leagues,” said Cedar Rapids Prairie Athletics Director Rocky Bennett. “Every school has its own perspective on things, and that is something we all understand and respect.”
“I don’t know what the answer is going to be,” said Cedar Rapids Kennedy AD Aaron Stecker. “A few have decisions to make, and their decisions could be the lynchpins in this.”
Xavier, Davenport Assumption and Dubuque Wahlert have enrollments that would put them in Class 3A, but have not officially decided if they want to make that jump. If they do, that could bring up a set of other questions.
Would schools in 3A now be forced to replace Xavier, Assumption and Wahlert in 4A? Would one or more 4A schools from the other side of the state (such as Marshalltown or Ottumwa) be shifted to the eastern districts?
Keating was asked what his school will do.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ve been in 4A forever, and I think that’s where we’d like to be. But we’ve got to listen to how things shake out. There are all kinds of factors. What’s our enrollment going to be? What are our numbers at the lower levels? There are a lot of factors.”
“We had this meeting two years ago, and all 24 of us were committed to conference football,” said Iowa City West AD Scott Kibby. “I don’t get that sense now. How many are? I don’t know.”
Iowa High School Athletic Association Executive Director Rick Wulkow and Assistant Executive Director Alan Beste also attended Wednesday’s meeting, though the IHSSAA will not influence any decision.
“They will not come in and dictate anything,” Bennett said.
Other than perhaps the swiftness of a decision. It is believed there must be something concrete by the end of the year, so the IHSAA can determine districts in all classes.
“I honestly anticipated being closer by now than we are,” said Stecker, when asked if there is a level of frustration.CEDAR RAPIDS – If you were expecting a definitive answer, you were disappointed because there wasn’t one.