MHS, Ottumwa still committed to new league moving forward

The Marshalltown Board of Education called a potential move to a new athletics conference a “dead issue” at its monthly meeting Monday, but Marshalltown Activities Director Craig Huegel doesn’t want anyone to think the school has given up on the plan.

Huegel reiterated to the Times-Republican on Tuesday that the athletic department still has plans to form an eight-team league with seven other schools currently in the CIML but admitted the plan right now is “dead.”

But three months, six months or nine months from now is a completely different story, according to Huegel.

“That means today, right now, the plan is a ‘dead issue,'” said Huegel. “There is a still a good chance this happens, but there will be a lot of factors moving forward. We believe it is very much in play though.”

Ottumwa High School, one of the other seven schools which also wants to form the new league, made it clear that it is still all in Monday when their Board of Education voted in favor of the new conference.

“We voted to move forward with beginning the process of joining this new proposed league and are now in a wait-and-see approach,” said Ottumwa Activities Director Tom Kopatich. “Our district supports the eight-team conference, and the time frame wasn’t that big of a deal to us.”

Kopatich said voting yes to move forward with the new league should show the other seven schools, which also includes Indianola and the five Des Moines Public Schools – Roosevelt, Hoover, North, East and Lincoln – that they are committed to the project when and if it becomes official.

“We still want the freedom to schedule who we want to play in each sport,” said Huegel. “It will be hard to cater to everyone’s issues when your conference has 19 schools in it.”

The next step for all 19 schools in the Central Iowa Metropolitan League is to meet as a group before the start of the next school year to discuss if there is any way they can stay together. That may require changing the current format.

But if change is not possible, the proposed eight-team conference may just go into effect in 2016-17 instead of the original start date of 2015-16.