By DOUG DONNELLY
MADISON TOWNSHIP — The Madison board of education voted Monday to withdraw from the TCC following the 2022-23 school year and will join the Lenawee County Athletic Association starting in the fall of 2023-24.
With Madison’s departure, the TCC – for now – is down to six schools and just four 11-man football teams. Meanwhile, the move to the LCAA helps keep that league at eight.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Madison athletic director Kris Isom. “Change is not always easy, but necessary.”
Madison will move into the spot that Brooklyn Columbia Central has now. Columbia Central is leaving to join the Cascades Conference along with Leslie and Jonesville and, possibly, one more school from the Big 8 Conference.
Madison started talking about options for a new league only a few months ago, around the time that the school’s enrollment announced for 2022-23 by the Michigan High School Athletic Association showed it at above 400 for the first time.
“It was a very tough decision to leave a conference that we have been dedicated members of for so long,” said Maidson Supt. Nick Steinmetz. “We are grateful for the TCC and all of the schools that we have competed against throughout the years and look forward to what the future holds.”
It was only a few months ago that the district started discussing the option of staying in the TCC, joining the Cascades Conference or joining the LCAA. A formal invitation came only from the LCAA.
Isom said she didn’t make a recommendation to the board Monday but presented the options as she saw them. There was no one from the public at the meeting to comment one way or another.
“I presented options and I told them they had to make decisions based on what’s in the best interest of Madison in the future, not right now or not with their heart,” Isom said. “It’s emotion for me. I’ve been a part of the TCC for a lot of years. We are celebrating 50 years of the TCC next year. But it’s not about what is the best decision for me, but what’s the best decision for Madison.”
Isom said it was her impression that board members felt the TCC was not going to be able to stay together long term.
Britton Deerfield athletic director Erik Johnson called it a tough day for the TCC.
“I understand the position of Madison schools,” he said. “As a TCC group, it will be hard to lose the leadership of Kris Isom. She is a remarkable person and AD.”
Johnson said the league is determined to find a new direction and stay together.
“I know our current athletic director’s are passionate about the TCC and it surviving,” he said.
Officials from other TCC schools have been in talks with other schools and leagues, including the Toledo Area Athletic Conference (TAAC) about scheduling crossover and non-conference football games to help alleviate the lack of conference football games for the remaining 11-player football schools. Morenci and Britton Deerfield are both playing 11-man football next season.
Earlier this month, Columbia Central board voted to leave the LCAA and re-join the Cascades Conference. Leslie school voted to join the Cascades Conference June 22 and Jonesville’s decision was made Monday.
Matt Johns, athletic director and boys basketball coach at Leslie, said the district felt the Cascades was a good fit.
“The Cascades Conference has been the model league for years in the Jackson-Area,” he said. “When they made the decision to expand, we felt that we were a good fit. Our school population and communities are similar, as are the sports we offer. We have long-standing athletic relationships with several schools in the league and we look forward to continuing to grow those rivalries as a member of the conference.”
|2023-24 SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN CONFERENCE ALIGNMENT|
|BIG 8 CONFERENCE|
*Plays in Tri-River 8 Conference for 8-player football