LCAA stable — for now

October 13, 2010

By Bill Mullaly

Many Hudson community members may have read with interest a story a few weeks ago dealing with Onsted High School. The story discussed the school and its decision to look into escaping from the Lenawee County Athletic Association (LCAA) in the near future. Nothing has been decided officially yet but the Wildcat school athletic administration is exploring its options about a possible move to vacate the LCAA in favor of the Southern Michigan Activities Association (SMAA). However, it should be noted that at this time that Onsted has made no decision to leave the LCAA and they are locked in for the next almost three years.

“The thing I want people to understand is that Onsted just agreed to stay with the LCAA through the 2012-13 school year,” said Tiger athletic director Jeremy Beal. “They are not going anywhere for the next few years and they may not leave at all.”

If Onsted leaves the LCAA it could mean the demise of the long-standing conference. In all actuality it is really no “Lenawee” county league anymore since Dundee, Ida and Erie Mason (Monroe County) were added in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Onsted, Blissfield and Hudson remain in the six-team league that has lost Columbia Central and Clinton over the past decade dropping from eight to six teams.

If Onsted does decide by next October to jump leagues what will become of the LCAA? “We have plenty of time to decide what we are going to do and we will seek the input of the community,” said Hudson superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne. “We want the community to be a part of what we decide to do, if a decision has to be made. This is an area where a lot of the community has a big interest in who we play and in what league we compete in.”

Osborne is both the school superintendent and a parent with children who have played sports at Hudson over the years and with a son now in the seventh grade. “We have to look at several things if a move is needed,” said Osborne. “The level of competition, the amount of travel, the bussing of teams, the number of teams in a new league and so on are all things to look at. We will have a process in place to make a decision if the time comes for that.”

Nothing changing for now

Osborne, like Beal, both wanted to stress that nothing is changing at the present time or for the next three years through 2012-13. Hudson, Onsted and the other LCAA teams are locked into playing in the LCAA but that doesn’t mean schools won’t be looking for better options down the road and that could mean Hudson also. Onsted has made no secret of its desire to join the SMAA but it is treading slowly. According to former Onsted graduate and current Hudson teacher, Kevin Reed, the prospect of Onsted joining the SMAA is not a done deal. “Onsted is worried about the Albion situation and whether that school will even still be operating in three years,” said Reed. If Onsted were to agree to leave and Albion were to shut down (a real possibility) then Onsted would be right back in a six-team league again. Beal noted that Onsted would be the seventh team in the SMAA (CC, Albion, Western, Stockbridge, Leslie and Hillsdale) are the others.

“Onsted probably wouldn’t go in as the seventh school as they would need an eighth to go with them as it makes it easier for scheduling,” said Beal.

In looking down the road the best scenario for the Tigers, if the LCAA were to fold after the school year of 2012-13 most likely would be the nearby TCC. “I am not saying we are out looking for a new conference already but we have to keep our options open,” said Osborne, who noted that Dundee has also looked at moving to a new league perhaps the Huron Valley. “If we had to go anywhere I would think the TCC would be our best fit but we have not approached them about this,” Osborne said.

Most people would agree the TCC (Madison, Sand Creek, Morenci, Clinton, Summerfield, Whitemore Lake, Whiteford and Britton-Deerfield) is the best movement for Hudson, if the LCAA disbands. Clinton, Madison, Morenci and Sand Creek are all former league members since the early 1970’s and Summerfield was a former LCAA member many years ago. Thus, there is plenty of history and tradition already there with the TCC. However, another possibility could be the Cascades Conference (Addison, Manchester, Grass Lake, East Jackson, Vandercook Lake, Hanover-Horton and Michigan Center) make up that league. Three schools are former LCAA foes in Addison, the Dutch and Grass Lake so there is also some history and tradition there along with chief former archrival Addison.

One thing both Beal and Osborne want to make certain fans and community members understand is that forming and creating a new league is just not going to happen. “If people think that schools like Addison, Morenci, Sand Creek and say Pittsford would want to jump into a new league with us because the LCAA dissolves it isn’t going to happen,” said Osborne. “Those schools are all very happy where they are and don’t want to move and I don’t blame them. We are the ones who will have to move if the LCAA ever ends.”

For now it is play ball, as the LCAA is still alive and well and has been for over 80 years.