Word came down Wednesday through media outlets that Grand Blanc High School was unceremoniously kicked out of the Kensington Lakes Activities League on a 13-1 vote effective 2018-19 season. That will likely mean that Lapeer’s bid to join the KLAA will be rejected. That leaves both districts in a pickle as they continue to try find a competitive athletic conferences for their student-athletes.
Distance was cited as the main reason for the KLAA principals to kick Grand Blanc to the curb saying that the opposing schools had to travel 40 miles or more to play Grand Blanc. Last May, nine member schools of the KLAA fled and formed a newly-announced Lakes Valley Conference that now includes Walled Lake Central, Western and Northern, Lakeland, Milford, South Lyon, South Lyon East, Waterford Kettering and Mott. Those schools also cited competitive fairness in all sports as their main reason for creating a new league. Distance to other former KLAA schools was the secondary reason.
Grand Blanc spent a lot of time on the road to distant communities such as Pinckney, Brighton, Milford, the Walled Lake area and beyond. With a student body of 2,630, local leagues felt Grand Blanc was just too large of a school. Lapeer faced a similar fate when East and West combined putting Lapeer at 1,900- plus. It finally landed in the Saginaw Valley League-South which meant a lot of travel to Midland, Bay City, Mt. Pleasant and other closer cities in Genesee County. The travel hasn’t sat well with parents and the district, while not confirming anything to the local media outlets, is shopping for a new league. The Livingston county papers were the first to report that Lapeer was interested in the KLAA.
So, here we are coming full circle again to where Lapeer and Grand Blanc may find themselves in the same league. Grand Blanc has applied to the Valley and if that doesn’t work out, I’m sure former Carman- Ainsworth athletic director and boys’ varsity basketball coach Bob Root might just see his dream of a Greater Flint Athletic conference happen. That’s likely a few years down the road, but the former Big Nine rivals that were left – Carman-Ainsworth, Davison, Flushing and Flint Powers—when the rest of the Big Nine schools went elsewhere might now be ready to re-open discussions on a new, more local league.
There’s plenty more of realignment going on with the Genesee Area Conference now a Red, White and Blue and the North Central Thumb League is moving toward a Stars and Stripes division, welcoming in new schools. (See our related article on that in this edition).
The new alignments are designed to first and foremost give all the schools in each league a competitive base. It’s also designed to deal with future decline in enrollment, which all schools are expecting. School district Boards of Education have been spinning those numbers and waxing philosophical about ‘what to do’ for several years now. For some, the writing has been on all wall for some time and it’s just time to do something constructive about it.
It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure.