West Michigan Conference Looks To Expand
The West Michigan Conference had eight schools submit applications to potentially join the conference. The WMC reached out to potential schools in December 2019 to see if they had interest and set an application deadline of June 26. The schools that applied were Fremont, Ludington, Manistee, Hesperia, Muskegon Orchard View, Holton, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian and Muskegon Catholic Central.
The conference currently consists of eight schools, and the expansion would allow for a two-division conference.
Hesperia’s athletic director Jeffrey Knapp said it is important to weigh the options of whether to switch conferences or not, but the decision is made with the student athlete’s best interest in mind.
“We’re just always looking for opportunities for better success for our kids. It’s just a constant exploration trying to find ways that you know our kids can find success on the fields and courts, etc.,” Knapp said. “When the opportunity came for the West Michigan Conference, for me it was, let’s kick the tires on this and see if it’s going to be a better fit for our kids.”
Manistee’s athletic director Kevin Schmutzler said that joining the conference is the best option for the school and student athletes.
“The opportunity to get into a little bit bigger conference. You know, it makes it a little more convenient for scheduling but also a really good opportunity for students and our athletes, just have more opportunity and that’s what we’re trying to offer them, you know?” Schmutzler said. “So to be able to have a bigger conference, the consistency, routine, and just that teamwork and camaraderie of all being in one big conference would be great.”
Ludington is weighing its options as well, submitting applications for the West Michigan Conference as well as the Central States Activities Association (CSAA). Belding also submitted an application to the CSAA as the conference prepares for a potential departure of Fremont and Hesperia.
Those schools that submitted applications now await a decision. If the schools are accepted, the changes wouldn’t take effect until at least 2022.