It took three tries, but the O-K Conference will realign for the 2012-2013 school year.
The members of the conference voted 38-12 to realign the divisions, adding a Bronze division to the current lineup.
The realignment was made necessary with the addition of Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian as a member.
“I think it’s just a relief more than anything,” said Greenville athletic dirctor Brian Zdanowski. “It’s the first of the year and we don’t have any league schedules. It was a burden on all league ADs. So relief is probably a one-word answer for that.”
“It’s been a long journey, but we’re kind of glad to be drawing to the end of the journey,” Belding athletic director Joel Wilker said. “Now we can go forward with our scheduling and planning for next year.”
Greenville will be moving to the Bronze Conference, joining Grand Rapids Northview, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, Cedar Springs and Grand Rapids West Catholic.
“Across the board it will be maybe more competitive with some and not so with others, but that was the way it was in the White,” Zdanowski said. “ I don’t think it’s going to be one-sided in any way.”
Belding will stay in the Blue Conference with Sparta, Comstock Park and Coopersville, but will now have Allendale, Grand Rapids Creston, Woming Park and Wyoming Rogers with them.
“We feel like it’s pretty fair,” Wilker said. “We feel like it’s one of those things that we’re excited to be in an eight-team conference instead of a seven-team conference because of those weird byes. We’ve been in a conference with Rogers and Park but we never had one with Creston. We’re in with schools that are in our size range, so that part is really fair.”
Some of the schools that voted no were Lowell, East Grand Rapids, Rockford and both Zeeland schools.
“It’s one of those things where you have 50-some schools, some are going to like things better than others,” Wilker said. “It’s never going to be perfect when you have that many schools.”
Now both Zdanowski and Wilker can get to scheduling when school returns after the Christmas break.
“We’ll probably still have some sort of relationship with Lowell because of the proximity to us,”
Zdanowski said. “East and Christian, they are looking to play schools close to them. We’re glad to keep a relationship with Northview. I’d like to continue in some capacity playing Creston in sports.”
“It’s hard to be in a waiting mode,” Wilker said. “It put us a little bit behind in scheduling for next year. Hopefully it will get us going in the new year.”
Zdanowski noted the Bronze Conference will have a meeting in January to look at scheduling conference games in each sport, then the ADs of the Bronze can schedule their non-conference games around that.
“We had our football schedule set up with all this passing,” he said. “Then we had a format for how we wanted to schedule the others. Now it’s a matter of plugging in the names.”