Whitmore Lake to officially leave TCC after 2018-19 school year

By DOUG DONNELLY

Whitmore Lake’s sudden departure from the Tri-County Conference won’t mean a quick move by Tri-County Conference schools to replace them.

Madison Athletic Director Kris Isom said Tuesday that Whitmore Lake’s move caught the rest of the league off-guard and they don’t intend to make a move in time for the 2019-20 school year.

“Nothing will happen overnight,” Isom said.

Eventually, the league will take applications from other schools that want to join the league. Everything is on the table, including adding just one team or more.

Whitmore Lake Supt. Tom DeKeyser said Tuesday that the school board had directed school officials several years ago to begin looking at ways to build the numbers of athletes and creating a more competitive balance for the Trojans athletically. It wasn’t an easy decision, he said, as the Trojans have a long history in the TCC. But, he said, in recent years it had become apparent that, at least in some sports, the Trojans were not competing at the same level as other TCC schools.

“We have built a lot of great relationships in the TCC,” DeKeyser said. “But, our coaches and athletes are excited to try something different.”

The Trojans are headed to the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference, which will have 14 schools for 2019-20 and beyond. The MIAC is split into two separate divisions. It will be determined later which division Whitmore Lake will be in.

DeKeyser said the proximity of schools in its new conference, the fact that the MIAC is split into two divisions and the competitive balance were the three specific reasons for the move.

“The TCC is a very, very strong conference,” DeKeyser said. “It’s a gem for small schools in the state. But, looking at all of our sports, we feel we are doing the right thing.”

Whitmore Lake’s 2018 enrollment, according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association, is 278 high school students, putting it third from the top in the TCC, behind Madison (388) and Clinton (313) and ahead of Sand Creek (266), Whiteford (250), Summerfield (219), Morenci (202) and Britton Deerfield (194).

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