The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

September 18, 2013

Southern Plains will be newest conference

South Central, Southwest to become Southern Plains

ST. PETER — For years, the South Central Conference has survived as a six-team league.

It's the minimum number allowed by the Minnesota State High School League and a number that left the conference looking for more stability. According to St. Peter activities director Steve Alger, a plan to merge the SCC and Southwest Conference would make a new league more stable and help in scheduling, especially in football.

"Both conferences are small, and it's a matter of stability," Alger said. "If someone had decided to do something different, our conference would fold."

Alger said the Southern Plains Conference would be a 13-team conference, merging St. Peter, Waseca, Blue Earth Area, St. James Area, New Ulm and Fairmont of the SCC with seven schools from the Southwest: Jackson County Central, Luverne, Marshall, Pipestone Area, Redwood Valley, Windom Area and Worthington.

A few years ago, the conferences tried a cooperative schedule to help fill open dates for football, but when one or two schools didn't like it, the plan was scrapped. Alger said the schools had meetings this week to work out bylaws and scheduling issues, and those plans have to be approved by school boards of each school.

In football, St. Peter traveled to Hibbing for a game last season. Earlier this season, Waseca played at Little Falls. Though the schedule hasn't been set, it would likely include seven or eight conference games each season. There could end up being divisions within the conference.

Alger said he'd like to keep Le Sueur-Henderson on the schedule, but he's not sure how it will work.

"Le Sueur is a big rival for us," he said. "If it doesn't work, we'll still have a full schedule.

"I think people still have a lot of questions, and we're getting a lot of things ironed out. I'm excited about this."

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