HOOSIER HEARTLAND CONFERENCE ACCEPTS TAYLOR, EASTERN, FRONTIER AND TRI-COUNTY

IHSAA

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. - The long-standing rumors were finally confirmed on Dec. 11 when it was announced that Taylor High School would leave the Mid-Indiana Conference for the Hoosier Heartland Conference, beginning with the fall sports campaign of 2015. Frontier and Tri-County will also join the existing HHC member schools of Carroll (Flora), Clinton Prairie, Clinton Central, Rossville, Sheridan and Tri-Central to form a nine team league.

“This will benefit all of our students in athletic competition and academic opportunities,” said Taylor Athletic Director Karen Franklin. “The HHC membership is very pleased and excited about the future direction of their conference.”

Eastern High School was also accepted into the conference but still needs approval from the Eastern-Howard School Corporation board of trustees. According to Athletic Director Brad Wilson, the next board meeting is set for January 2014. If the school board votes yes to the conference change, the HHC would stand at an even 10 schools.

The departures of Taylor and Eastern would leave the MIC with six teams: Western, Northwestern, Lewis Cass, Hamilton Heights, Peru and Maconaquah. It is unclear what direction the conference will take, but it is known in several athletic circles that Hoosier Conference members Tipton and Twin Lakes have an interest in joining the MIC. There is also the possibility of other schools leaving the conference as there are rumors of at least one, and maybe two schools looking to join the Three Rivers Conference. Thus, the next few months will be of interest of MIC fans.

History of the Mid-Indiana Conference

The Mid-Indiana Conference was formed in 1965, but can trace its roots to the late 1940s. In the late 1940’s, nine local schools played in the Howard County Conference, but school consolidations closed six schools over a short three year period. Those three remaining schools (which are now Eastern, Western and Northwestern) formed the Howard-Miami Conference. The addition of two schools from Grant County forced a name change to the Tri-County Conference in 1955.

With schools continuing to consolidate in the 1960’s, the conference found itself with just four members – Maconaquah, Northwestern, Eastern and Oak Hill. Thus, with an expansion in 1965, the conference was reborn as the MIC with Western, Southwood, North Miami and Fairmount joining the four remaining TCC schools to form the charter membership.

The Three Rivers Conference was formed in 1971 and would pick at the MIC for years, snagging several member schools: North Miami in 1972, Southwood in 1976 and Oak Hill and Eastern in 1980. The Comets would return to the MIC in 1987. MIC charter member Fairmount left the conference in 1970 when it consolidated with Madison-Grant High School. Eastbrook left the Mississinewa Valley Conference in 1977 to join the MIC, but 11 years later it jumped ship to the Central Indiana Conference.

Besides MIC charter schools Western, Northwestern and Maconaquah, the Lewis Cass Kings has the longest membership when it joined in 1968 as a new school. Taylor left the Rangeline Conference to join the MIC in 1974, Peru come to the MIC from the Central Indiana Conference in 1998 and the last school to gain membership in the MIC was Hamilton Heights in 2000, when it left the Rangeline.

The Sports Journal staff will continue to monitor changes in the Mid-Indiana Conference, the North Central Conference and other conference in central Indiana.

3 comments

  1. D. D. says:

    Wow! Eastern will be using a lot of gas to travel to Sheridan, Carroll, Rossville, etc….not sure I like this as we will have to drive further to see our team play! Grr….

  2. Dave says:

    To describe the Three Rivers Conference picking at the MIC for years would not be accurate. I’ve seen this turn of phrase in several sources. Schools such as North Miami and Southwood were more naturally in that more Northern conference geographically. I was quite young then but from what I recall there were a series of incidents of vandalism to the point many MIC schools did not want to play North Miami. While smaller, Eastern and Oak Hill were two of the top schools athletically in the MIC in the 60s and 70s. The larger schools (primarily Western) were sore that these Class A schools beat them and they did not get as many points toward the football playoff system that at that time did not include all the schools. Eastern and Oak Hill did not leave the MIC so much as they were given the choice to declare themselves 2A (not sure they could have even done that) or be kicked out. Even that Tipton is not in the MIC but Hamilton Heights is was primarily a Western move. Even in the basketball sectional most of the small schools rooted for Kokomo or Haworth over Western.

    • Dave says:

      As I have looked at previous articles, I realize the I realized that TRC “pick at the MIC for years” phrase was from not from different sources but the same publication. That was a crazy time in the early 80s. Eastern was going up to these schools where there was no history. Western crowds would start chanting M-I-C at games and Eastern would respond T-R-C or K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E. At that time, schools such as Tippecanoe Valley were very tough athletically and although most of those schools were 1A it was arguably the stronger conference.

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