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New Richmond football staying in Middle Border, at least for two more years

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sports New Richmond, 54017

New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

The New Richmond football program is staying in the Middle Border Conference, for at least the next two years.

On Friday the WIAA announced its plans for football-only realignment plans across the state. This comes on the heels of the failed attempt to completely revamp the system for football in the state. That proposal would have done away with all current conferences in the state for football only, replacing them with eight-team modules based solely on school enrollments.

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After that proposal was voted down, the WIAA targeted a number of situations around the state where realignments might need to happen. One of those targets was New Richmond. New Richmond's enrollment has grown, while Rice Lake's has dropped and now New Richmond has a larger enrollment than Rice Lake. Yet Rice Lake remains in the Big Rivers Conference, while New Richmond remains the largest school in the Middle Border Conference.

Instead of making a change, the WIAA listened to the schools involved. New Richmond athletic director Casey Eckardt said he and his Rice Lake counterpart, Steve Salsbury, both lobbied to keep their football programs where they are.

"The Rice Lake coaches really wanted to stay in the Big Rivers," Eckardt said. "Give the WIAA credit for listening to its membership."

These are the two football only proposals the WIAA advanced to the next stage of consideration:

One of the football-only conference realignment proposals involve the current members of the six-school Wisconsin Valley Conference and the 10-school Fox Valley Association. The Board gave initial support of the plan to combine the WVC and FVA and form one, 16-team league containing two separate eight-team divisions, which are to be determined by the schools of the newly formed football conference for the 2011 season.

The second football-only conference realignment plan receiving first approval by the Board affects the members of the CloverWood, Dairyland, Great Northern and Marawood conferences with implementation in 2011. The plan moves McDonell Central from the Marawood to the CloverWood, Augusta from the CloverWood to the Dairyland and Tomahawk from the Great Northern to the Marawood.

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