Leslie High School applied to join three leagues in recent months when it became apparent the Southern Michigan Activities Association would dissolve, but was turned down in each case.
Therefore, the Blackhawks will compete as an independent in 2012-13 while searching for a new league.
“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t get into some leagues that would be good for us,” Leslie athletic director Scott Cousineau said. “But a lot of the reasons are things like a league of eight makes a perfect group, and people don’t want to change that. I understand that, and I’m not upset about that –just disappointed.”
The Capital Area Activities Conference, however, wasn’t one of the leagues Leslie considered joining even though the CAAC contains an odd number of high schools in 2012-13 and could use one more member for easier scheduling.
“We just felt overall our athletic program was not at a level of the schools in the White division, where we would probably be placed,” Cousineau said. “We’re not about winning league titles here, but we didn’t want to put the kids in a situation where they couldn’t compete.
“We have a few programs that could be competitive, but overall I didn’t see that (the CAAC) as a good fit for our kids.”
Cousineau liked the league as it was and continues to schedule and have good relationships with former SMAA schools.
“Some people think we left the SMAA,” he said. “The SMAA left us.”
Parma Jackson County Western sought membership in, and was accepted into the CAAC Gold, because it offered more sports than many SMAA schools.
“When that happened, we were left with six schools but only five in football,” Cousineau said. “We had some conversations about other schools.”
Then Hillsdale and Brooklyn Columbia Central left for the Lenawee County Athletic Association.
“That pretty much brought the end of the league,” Cousineau said.
Stockbridge then joined the CAAC White, leaving Leslie, Albion and Lansing Christian to compete as independents.
“We haven’t had a problem putting together schedules,” Cousineau said. “It’s just a lot more work. In a league setting, there’s a schedule you can count on being there for you and all-league awards for the kids.”
Leslie’s independent status is most likely just temporary.
“There are a lot of conversations going on,” Cousineau said. “We will eventually get back into something, but we’re not going to jump into anything. We want to make sure it’s right for our school and our kids.”