The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jul. 10, 2020

Monday Mailbag: conference realignment

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

After a week off for the Memorial Day holiday, the Monday Mailbag has returned and the latest edition features questions and a comment about conference changes, specifically, the Northwest Conference.

C: I see you have addressed several Parkway to the NWC questions. I’ll provide my two cents.

To be honest, the major reason why Parkway isn’t in the NWC is simply timing. They competed at high levels throughout the two main boys sports, football and basketball in 2019-2020. In football, they finished 4-6, with last second one point losses to Versailles and Fort Recovery. In basketball they had a historic season, finishing second in the league at 7-2 and adding three more MAC wins during their tournament run.

There currently is an unprecedented amount of pride throughout the community for how things ended this season. It would be a nightmare to sell not only to the Parkway community but it would not sit well with neighboring MAC Schools at all. I would imagine the NWC gauged interest and didn’t get very far with the Parkway administration. While the fit makes a lot of sense, sometimes things are all about timing and I truly believe that’s what this comes down to. Name withheld upon request

A: That’s an excellent observation and I wouldn’t argue it at all.

Had this been a different time – five or 10 years ago – things might have turned out differently, but you’re correct, timing really is everything, especially in this case.

According to multiple sourses who confirmed this with me, you’re also correct when you say NWC officials reached out to Parkway, but the interest just wasn’t there.

Q: I read with interest the question concerning the Northwest Conference expanding to form somewhat of a super conference.

I agree with the comments that a Parkway or a Delphos St. John’s are unlikely to leave the MAC because of gate and added travel.

Let’s look at this another way. I believe the conference that would first consider forming a superconference would be the MAC. With the reputation and regard the MAC has statewide it would probably be the one to first consider it.

That said Crestview, with its tradition and excellence in the NWC would probably be a candidate. While I do not see Crestview ever leaving the NWC so would say it would be a step up in competition for the Knights. Your thoughts? Mike Schumm

A: You’re right, I seriously doubt Crestview isn’t leaving the NWC anytime soon, but your idea is an interesting one.

With all due respect to the remaining NWC schools, the Midwest Athletic Conference would indeed be a big step up in competition. Would the Knights truly want to knock heads with the likes of Coldwater, Marion Local, Versailles, Minster on a regular basis, not to mention ascending Parkway and Delphos St. John’s, who has enjoyed previous success? That’s a loaded question.

I see what you’re saying, but I’m not so sure. It would be interesting to see what other schools would join to form such a conference.

Q: How do the various conferences make their decisions as to what schools they want to invite — or disinvite? Who is in on the decision? Who attends the meetings? How much of the information is made public? How do you, as a member of the media, learn about what went on in the making of those decisions?

On the other end, it would be interesting to know how a school decides whether or not to accept an offer. Name withheld upon request

A: It’s my experience that it’s usually the principals who get together and discuss potential schools that should be considered and I believe there is significant input from athletic directors and coaches as well. That’s the case in terms of inviting a school, such as Leipsic to the Northwest Conference, or removing a school, such as Holgate from the Green Meadows Conference.

Some important factors include the size of the school, the history and competitiveness of the school’s athletic programs and travel, which is very important.

These types of meetings of principals aren’t secret, but they’re not really open to the public simply because they don’t involve elected officials. However, the local board of education makes the final decision.

As far as what information is made public, it’s usually in the form of a press release or some sort of statement from the conference or league commissioner or president. However, members of the media are free to ask follow up questions to learn more information. Personally, I like to ask questions and get as much information as possible, even if it’s off-the-record for whatever reason, or just for background knowledge.

Sometimes, a league or conference representative will release the names of the schools under consideration, other times not.

There’s a lot of time, communication and discussion that goes into these types of decisions, simply because it’s a big change for all involved.

If you have a question or comment for the next Monday Mailbag, simply email it to

POSTED: 06/01/20 at 3:51 am. FILED UNDER: Sports