Future athletic conference woes linger for Decorah School Board

By Roz Weis,

A robust discussion of trends in athletic conferences statewide and specific considerations regarding the shrinking Northeast Iowa Conference (NEIC) have been conducted at recent Decorah Community School District (DCSD) Board meetings, and the conversation continued at the Board’s meeting Monday night.

Board members concluded the most recent athletic conference debate Monday by instructing DCSD Superintendent Tim Cronin to formally apply for membership to the Upper Iowa Conference (UIC). This move was on the heals of recent action on the part of the UIC to decline an informal membership meeting request from the Decorah District last week.

According to Decorah Athletic Director Adam Riley, he has had conversation with the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and a formal request to join the conference is the next procedural step in ensuring that a school desiring to be a member of a conference is granted that opportunity.

“One thing to be clear is that time is of the essence,” Riley stressed. “It’s imperative that there is some dialogue that can come from this (request).”

Upper Iowa Conference (UIC) member-schools are currently Central, Clayton Ridge, Eastern Allamakee, MFL MarMac, North Fayette Valley, Postville, South Winneshiek, Turkey Valley and West Central. UIC officials met Feb. 6 and accepted Howard Winneshiek’s application for conference membership, and extended invitations to New Hampton and Allamakee County Districts. It was during that meeting, that the UIC voted to decline the membership meeting inquiry from the Decorah District.

“I have strong feelings about this,” Board Vice President Ron Fadness said. “I think the course of action that gives us the best chance is to pursue this (formal application to Upper Iowa Conference).”

Should the Decorah District by unsuccessful in their request to join the UIC, a complaint could be filed, and a mediation team from the Department of Education/Iowa High School Athletic Association would intervene. The details of such mediation are spelled out in detail in the Iowa High School Athletic Association Handbook.

See more details from Monday’s Board meeting in the Feb. 14 Decorah Public Opinion.

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