I have written many articles about what conference Park will be a member of for the 2014-2015 school year. Well, I believe we finally have a definitive answer, even though it is not the answer we were hoping for.
Park will be a member of the Suburban East Conference next year. I am sure the majority of the community is aware of the process we followed in an attempt to become a member of the Metro East Conference for next year. That is not going to happen, and we will move forward and continue to work on fielding completive teams in the SEC.
The hardest part of this whole process was that those eight schools invited Park to a meeting in June and told us that they wanted us to be a part of the new conference. I have had many people ask me what has changed since that meeting in June, and I am not sure of that answer. Four schools “changed their mind” and voted not to include Park in this conference. I kept in touch with each of the schools throughout the summer so they knew our process and timelines. Only one school shared their reservations about the size of our school, but the others never mentioned any hesitations they were having. I feel that Park would be a great competitive fit for at least five of the MEC schools, but those schools obviously did not feel the same.
Two positives have come out of this ordeal. One of them is the tremendous amount of support that Park has received from the district, the community, and the school board. The other is that I have gained a greater sense of appreciation for working with such a great group of administrators that we have in the Suburban East Conference. This is a great conference with a great group of athletic directors to work with, and I am grateful for that.
Will there be an opportunity for Park to join the Metro East Conference somewhere down the road? I obviously do not know the answer to that question, but my response is, “Never say never.” St. Thomas Academy may be placed in the Metro East by the Minnesota State High School League as a ninth team, and those schools might someday look for a 10th team to join them. But for now we will continue our involvement in the SEC and continue to provide positive experiences for our student-athletes in a competitive environment.