In a submission to all involved superintendents, principals and athletic directors Monday the Sun Prairie Area School District is proposing a future move out of the Big Eight Conference and into the Badger Large Conference for football.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) passed a statewide football-only conference realignment plan in April of 2019 to be implemented in the fall of 2020. The goal of this realignment was to bring uniformity to the number of teams in a conference and the number of conference games teams play. Prior to this, there were conferences with 11, 10, nine and eight teams in their conferences.
In April 2019, the SPASD successfully passed a referendum to build a second high school. Currently Sun Prairie is part of the Big Eight Conference for all sports, including football. In the fall of 2022, Sun Prairie will open up its second high school. At that time, all 9-12 grade students will go to their high school based on boundary lines. With that said, both schools will open up with 9-12 grade students with an enrollment around 1300-1350 per school (Sun Prairie East and Sun Prairie West).
The proposal states: With taking its enrollment and splitting it between two schools, it will be difficult for both schools to compete in the Big Eight Conference for football.
The SPASD is proposing that starting in the fall of 2022 Sun Prairie East and West will move into the Badger Large Conference. Janesville Parker and Janesville Craig, which will be making the move to the Badger Large this fall, will move back into the Big Eight. Other moves would include Beloit Memorial exiting the Big Eight and joining the Southern Lakes Conference; Delavan-Darien would move out of the Southern Lakes and into the Rock Valley Conference; Madison Edgewood would move out of the Rock Valley and into the Capitol Large Conference; and Horicon/Hustisford would move out of the Capitol Large and into the South Central Conference, which currently is a seven-team conference, making it an eight-team conference.
In the press release it also states: While we understand change can sometimes be difficult, especially since we will only be two years into our current football-only realignment, we feel these changes are the best solutions for all schools, conferences, and most importantly, our student-athletes. We have considered enrollments, competitive balance, travel, and lower level team offerings when putting together this proposal. We have also offered Zoom meetings with all impacted conference athletic directors to outline the plan and allow for them to provide feedback they may have had.
— Brad Saron, Superintendent; Keith Nerby, High School Principal; Eric Nee, Director of Athletics and Activities.