More conference changes coming?

Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

The addition of Chaska and Chanhassen to the Missota Conference might be just the beginning.

According to reports in the Red Wing and Prior Lake newspapers, both schools may be looking to leave the Missota. Red Wing, which stands to be the smallest public school in the conference after Hutchinson leaves following the 2009-10 season, is considering leaving the conference if it can find a suitable conference home. That home could be the Big Nine, where the Wingers were for many years before joining the Missota in the 1980s. No decisions have been made, but an article in the Red Wing Republican-Eagle two weeks ago indicated that many of the coaches in that conference would like to see the move.

On the other end of the spectrum is Prior Lake, by far the largest school in the Missota. An article in the Prior Lake American talked about the disadvantages the Lakers face playing smaller schools in the regular season and then facing schools such as Eden Prairie and Edina in the post season in many sports.

This week's decision by the Minnesota State High School League to place Wayzata, Minnetonka, Edina and Hopkins in the Lake Conference could also spur further changes in that conference. The seven Dakota County schools in the Lake Conference (Apple Valley, Eastview, Rosemount, Eagan, Burnsville, Lakeville North and Lakeville South) have long been rumored to be ready to form a new Dakota County Conference.

If that happens, the Lake Conference would be down to seven teams, with Bloomington Kennedy and Bloomington Jefferson vastly undersized compared to the other five schools. According to John Millea of the Star Tribune, Kennedy and Jefferson - which have declining enrollment - could look to move south - to the Missota, with Prior Lake moving either to the newly realigned Lake - making it a six-team conference, or the new Dakota Conference, giving it eight teams.

Whatever is going to happen will need to happen quickly, since schools will soon start making their schedules for next year.

In other words, stay tuned.

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