KVL members discuss joining new leagues in upcoming seasons
The Kaw Valley League might undergo yet another makeover, but the change could take some time.
KVL members Perry-Lecompton and Santa Fe Trail have applied for acceptance into another league. And De Soto has shown interest in the Frontier League, although it appears the Wildcats probably will stay in the KVL.
Santa Fe Trail and Perry-Lecompton have applied for acceptance into the Big Seven, which actually has eight teams: Atchison County, Hiawatha, Holton, Royal Valley, Jeff West, Sabetha and Nemaha Valley. Sibling academies Maur Hill and Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison form the eighth school.
"A lot of those schools aren't growing and neither is Trail," said Tonganoxie athletics director Brandon Parker about Santa Fe Trail. "Teams could pull out of the Big Seven and form another league.
"It's hard telling. It could be all 10 of us still (in the KVL)."
Others interested in the Big Seven include Riley County, Silver Lake, Rock Creek and the new Kaw Valley High, a consolidation of Saint Marys and Rossville.
The Big Seven won't vote until next month on any new members.
Currently, the KVL has eight 4A schools, one 5A in Bonner Springs and one 3A school in Immaculata.
After Bonner Springs joined the league last year, the conference broke into two divisions -- large-school and small-school. De Soto, Immaculata, Perry-Lecompton, Piper and Santa Fe Trail are in the small-school division, while Basehor-Linwood, Bonner Springs, Lansing, Mill Valley and Tonganoxie make up the large-school division.
If Trail and Perry-Lecompton leave the KVL two schools are standing in the wings to replace them. Atchison and Bishop-Ward have applied for league acceptance, although Tonganoxie athletics director Brandon Parker said that was up in the air.
"We really don't know," Parker said. "It all depends on where else they apply and who accepts them and if the state has to step in."
Atchison and Bishop-Ward currently are in the five-team Huron League, which also includes Ottawa and Kansas City, Kan., schools Turner and Sumner. Bonner Springs came to the KVL from the Huron.
Officials from De Soto also have discussed changing leagues, but that seems less likely. DHS principal Debbie Lynn last week gained permission from the school board to talk with Frontier League representatives about joining their league.
However, De Soto athletics director Roy Hawley said Monday that the Wildcats would probably stay where they are.
"We just wanted to inquire, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen," Hawley said about a move. "We're definitely not dissatisfied by the Kaw Valley, but we're getting outgrown."
During the district's school board meeting, principal Debbie Lynn noted enrollment differences as a main reason that De Soto is shopping around for another league. Bonner Springs is a Class 5A school, and Lansing and Mill Valley likely will move up to 5A in September.
If Atchison and Bishop Ward replaced SFT and Perry-Lecompton, De Soto would be the smallest KVL school besides Immaculata.
As for the Frontier League, Jayhawk-Linn and Central Heights also have shown interest. Those two schools would put that league at 12 schools, along with Baldwin, Eudora, Gardner-Edgerton, Anderson County, Prairie View, Louisburg, Osawatomie, Paola, Spring Hill and Wellsville.
No matter whether teams end up in new leagues, the revamped conferences wouldn't take effect until the 2004-05 school year because schedules already have been finalized in many sports for next year.
"We can get beat here just as easily as we can get beat over there," Kawley said.
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