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Local athletic directors react to conference re-alignment

Change is coming to the Central State Athletics Association.


The conference will be downsizing from 14 teams to 11 teams for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Hesperia, Holton, and Fremont will be departing the league to join the West Michigan Conference,
which includes Hart, Shelby, Montague, Ravenna, Mason County Central, North Muskegon, and
Oakridge.


In response to the three schools leaving the conference, the CSAA decided to join the “Gold” and
“Silver” divisions together into one large division. This combination will apply for all sports except for
football, which will keep teams in their current divisions for the upcoming season. Big Rapids, Reed City, Chippewa Hills, Tri-County, Grant, Newaygo, and Central Montcalm will remain in the “Gold” while Morley Stanwood, White Cloud, Kent City, and Lakeview will stay in the “Silver.”


“It’s very difficult to have 11 different schools have a unanimous feel for the direction we should go,”
Reed City Athletic Director Ryan Hansen said. “It wasn’t the perfect process but everyone’s easy to work with. We all gave our opinions and I think we made the best decision we could make for the better of the whole.”


The conference was reportedly looking for suitors to replace the teams, which included interest from
Belding. In the end, the Knight programs decided to stay in the OK Silver and no other teams were suited to fit the conference grouping.


“As far as new teams geographically, there aren’t a lot of teams in the area that would match up in the silver,” Morley Stanwood Athletic Director Dale Rogers said. “There weren’t a lot of gold teams
interested in moving down into the silver for a variety of reasons either.”


This alteration will give some sports like basketball the benefit of a larger non-conference schedule,
while other sports like softball will play more conference contests. The conference is also considering
the addition of “college-like” postseason conference tournaments later down the road.


“Our league has been very creative with scheduling,” Big Rapids Athletic Director Dawn Thompson said.


“We’re going to try to come up with some conference tournaments to give the league an environment of excitement prior to the postseason.”


For more of the inside scoop on the story, copy the link below to hear the corresponding episode from “The West Michigan Sports Show.” The show will also be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other popular platforms soon.


SHOW LINK: https://wbrn.com/podcasts/the-west-michigan-sports-show


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