Hoosier Hills Conference athletic directors have begun very early discussions on the future of the league following the news Wednesday that Madison will leave the conference following the 2020-21 school year. The Madison school board voted 5-0 to approve the move, according to the Madison Courier.
The Cubs were one of four founding members in the conference in 1972, along with Bedford North Lawrence, Columbus East and Jennings County. Bloomington North, Floyd Central and New Albany joined in 1976 and Jeffersonville was added in 1979.
The league was a seven-member conference from 1981-82 through 95-96 after Bloomington North departed. But Seymour joined beginning in 1996-97 and it’s been the same eight schools since then.
Madison’s decision to put off its departure a year allows administrators in the HHC some time to plan for the future. Options could include finding one replacement, seeking expansion to 10 teams or staying put at seven.
One possibility would be exploring the interest Columbus North and Bloomington South and Bloomington North, Jeffersonville athletic director Todd Satterly said.
“Personally, I think it would really strengthen our conference top to bottom in a lot of sports. When you have that growth in your conference, it raises everybody up. It has an opportunity for all of us to improve,” Satterly said.
It would also have plenty of natural rivalries in place with Bedford North Lawrence and the two Bloomington schools in close proximity and Columbus North and Columbus East already city rivals.
Conference Indiana is a six-school conference made up of those three schools, Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South and Southport. Perry Meridian and Franklin Central departed that league in 2018, five years after Pike and Lawrence Central left for the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference.
“That would make a pretty good conference,” Floyd Central athletic director Jeff Cerqueira said. “Floyd might not be favored to win the all-sports trophy every year but if we can increase the quality of teams, we’ll be better for it.”
It might be more of a long-term potential fit, but Silver Creek is also being discussed. If Clark County voters vote to remove Silver Creek from West Clark Community Schools, a facility upgrade could be in Silver Creek’s future that could allow for enrollment growth.
With over 800 students enrolled, Silver Creek is the largest Mid-Southern Conference school and slightly larger than Madison as well. But New Albany, Floyd Central and Jeffersonville are over 1,000 students larger.
“In a perfect world, Silver Creek, as they look to separate from West Clark, they’d be a perfect fit to move into our conference, from a locality standpoint. Silver Creek turns kids away because they don’t have space,” Cerqueira said. “They’re a fantastic athletic school, performing arts is strong, academics is strong. It’d be great to have them. We’ll see what happens.”
Satterly said it could be a logical thing for administrators to have those discussions.
“They’re so competitive in boys and girls basketball and we all already play them in a vast majority of all sports,” Satterly said.
For the time being, Madison remains in the HHC and prepares to be an independent.
“Just looking at when we can get together to brainstorm and talk about what our next move is,” Satterly said.