Goodrich grapples with sports conference options

By David Fleet
Goodrich- On Jan. 22 the school board of trustees voted 7-0 to move forward with options for a new sports conference for the 2019-20 school years. The move will be necessary following a recent shake up in the Genesee Area Conference.
Since 1978 the Martians have been members of the GAC which today consists of 17 area schools divided up into two divisions—Red and Blue— based on enrollment and competitive balance. However, in 2016 a group of six GAC schools, Byron, Durand, Lakeville, Montrose, Mt. Morris and New Lothrop, gathered independently without consulting all members of the conference and formed a new Mid-Michigan Activities Conference beginning with the 2019-20 school year. The new conference will also include the Ovid-Elsie and Chesaning school districts.
The move left Goodrich, Corunna and Lake Fenton as the only schools in the upper or larger enrollment Red Division of the GAC with between 550 and 750 students.

The lower (smaller) GAC Blue division with 300-400 enrollment schools now includes Atherton, Bendle, Bentley, Genesee, Flint Beecher, Flint Hamady, Morrice and Webberville.
Ryan Relkan, school superintendent along with Dave Davis, athletic director and a sports subcommittee outlined three options for the district to find a new conference after the 2018-19 school year.
“The superintendent, staff and administration are looking out for what’s best for the student–athletes,” said Davis.
Under the direction of Davis, the district will reach out to Flint Metro League member schools and executive committee requesting a waver of the enrollment requirement for membership in the FML allowing Goodrich to proceed with the application process. The FML includes, Brandon, Clio, Fenton, Flushing, Holly, Kearsley, Linden, Owosso and Swartz Creek.
The second option is to approach other local districts of similar size and competitive balance about forming a new athletic conference including Brandon, Clio, Corunna, Goodrich, Flint Powers, Kearsley, Lake Fenton, Owosso, and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.
Finally, the district will begin the application process for membership to the Saginaw Valley League. The SVL is currently divided up into two conferences. The Blue Conference: Arthur Hill, Bay City Central, Carman-Ainsworth, Heritage, Midland Dow and Powers. The Red conference includes Bay City Western, Davision, Flint South Western, Lapeer, Midland High, Mt. Pleasent and Saginaw School.
“We would be on the road longer,” said Davis. “That’s an added expense and time for students. We have also considered an independent conference, but that would mean no league championship or league honors.”