Roncalli High School will soon find it easier to schedule football games.
Beginning in 2018, the Circle City Conference, which the Rebels have been a member of since its formation one year ago, starts an alliance with Conference Indiana for purposes of football scheduling.
The four-year agreement is exclusively for football. It provides schools more geographically convenient options should another series be ended early by one of the two programs.
“One of the problems we face in Indiana that a lot of states don’t have is we shoehorn nine (regular-season) games into nine weeks,” Roncalli coach Scott Marsh said.
“It’s nice to know we don’t have to go to Michigan or Ohio or Tennessee to pick up a ninth game. It gives coaches and administrators peace of mind.”
The alliance is for all high school football teams — freshman, junior varsity and varsity. Schools will schedule each other as time and space permit.
Both conferences will be made up of six schools by the start of the 2018-19 school year.
Conference Indiana is losing two of its members, Perry Meridian and Franklin Central, following the 2017-18 school year. They are joining the Mid-State Conference and Hoosier Crossroads Conference, respectively.
Roncalli will have no affiliation with Conference Indiana or its member schools, according to athletics director David Lauck, who added that both leagues are open to expanding membership.
“This initiative wasn’t done in a way to separate football from the other sports,” Lauck said. “It is simply a factual matter of scheduling for sports.”
Indiana High School Athletic Association commissioner Bobby Cox said including a 10th week for scheduling flexibility in football is unlikely.
“To add a bye week for all 325 football playing schools would require practices to begin one week earlier, which in most years would place that start date in the month of July,” Cox said. “That move would not be supported by either membership and/or the sports medicine community.
“The football season from first contest through State Finals competition is the longest season, greatly overlapping our winter sports seasons. Given these factors, there is no consideration currently to adding a 10th week.”
The Circle City Conference and Conference Indiana will each have six schools at the start of the 2018-19 school year. A look at the lineups:
Circle City Conference: Brebeuf, Chatard, Covenant Christian, Guerin Catholic, Heritage Christian, Roncalli
Conference Indiana: Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Columbus North, Southport, Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South