As you pencil in the current Northern State Conference lineup, it's likely that your eraser keeps getting smaller and smaller. Culver and Knox announced last week that they'd leave the NSC for a new league developing in 2015 which will include, among others, Winamac and North Judson. Now comes the news Monday Aug. 26 that Triton is picking their Trojans and joining and there's strong possibility that LaVille will bolt, too. The community will have a say in Lakeville on Wednesday.
The immediate result will likely give the yet-to-be-named league 8 schools and leave the NSC with 4 -- Jimtown, Bremen, Glenn and New Prairie. Internet message boards are laced with speculative threads on the NSC's future. Most are believable, though unlikely, scenarios.
The possibilities for the NSC ... Fairfield. AD Mark Hofer says the school will discuss its invitation with its entire athletic staff and meet with the Northern State Conference next week. "Word is out that we've been offered an invitation. Anytime you get something like this, you need to talk about it. We're happy where we're at in the NECC, but it's worth the considerations. We've got good relationships with the NSC and it deserves discussion."
NorthWood ... The Panthers have not been approached by any league according to AD Norm Sellers and he says he doesn't believe they will be. He also didn't rule out expansion discussion as an option for the Northern Lakes Conference at its AD's meeting on Sept. 12. "Naturally, it's going to be part of the discussion. Jimtown and Bremen are sitting right next door to us."
Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley ... Broadcast colleague Roger Grossman of www.1027thefan and WRSW radio says he's been in contact with officials at both Three Rivers Conference members who indicated that any rumors that they're looking to leave are premature. Valley is the largest TRC school with 626 students, according to the IHSAA. Rochester is third-largest at 563. Said Ryan Helt, Rochester's AD, "We're doing an analysis of the conference ... the competitive balance, travel distances, school enrollments ... and studying differences. We're happy here, but we owe it to our community to look (at the NSC)."
Jimtown ... Nathan Dean, who has replaced the newly-retired Bill Sharpe as the Jimmie AD, spoke very candidly on the NSC's future. "I don't know what's going to happen. I really don't. But I have every confidence that we'll get additional schools. Whether it's two or three or four, I don't know. The NSC is an attractive conference and schools are interested."
This situation basically has two scenarios: A) the NSC finds willing new members to reload and move forward, or B) the remaining NSC teams will be induced to join current leagues, like the Northern Indiana Conference, NLC or the Three Rivers. Geographically, the NLC is a fine fit for Jimtown and Bremen, but from a school size and a table of sports demographic, both become tough fits. Glenn? The Falcons are caught in the middle of nowhere, again, from a geographic standpoint. New Prairie? The NIC has asked before.
The NSC teams which are leaving are gone in two years. To fans, that seems like a long way away to make plans. To the schools involved, it'll seem like next week.