(12-17-21) In the future you may need to a phone friend to find out what athletic conference your school is in. Constant memberships changes are continuing in Southwest Michigan.

This week, the five school boards from Dowagiac, Brandywine, Buchanan, Berrien Springs and Benton Harbor approved a motion that would allow their athletic directors the option to look at joining a new athletic league, that could begin play in the fall of 2022.

Dowagiac Athletic Director Brent Nate told the South Bend Tribune

“We wanted to be proactive instead of reactive,” he said about seeking a new athletic home. “Five years ago, we wouldn’t have explored this, but we have seen some trends, and we didn’t want to wait too long. The coaches were on board.”

Members enrollments

  • Benton Harbor 621 (Independent)
  • Dowagiac 518 (Wolverine)
  • Berrien Springs 491 (Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph)
  • Buchanan 376 (Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph)
  • Brandywine 369 (Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph)

Changing student enrollments has had an impact with these schools considering a new option, the forming a new league seems to best move.

Brandywine Athletic Director David Sidenbender told leaderpub.com

“This is just a first step, and ultimately, we would like to expand more or combine to make a ‘mega-conference’ in the future. To survive, schools need to be proactive, not reactive, which is what we are trying to be at this juncture.”

Did you know?

South Haven, one of last season’s four BCS football schools, is not included in the initial list.

Benton Harbor has been an independent for a short period since leaving the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference. It will be the Tigers first time in the same conference as the other four members.

When Niles joined the Wolverine Conference this year it allowed the Vikings and Chieftians to continue their long football rivalry (which started in 1896)…it was the first game between the two teams since 2005. Will scheduling a future game work for both teams?