Red Wing weighs conference options againFor the second straight summer, Red Wing athletic director Matt Schultz has been charged with researching the continued viability of Red Wing’s presence in the Missota Conference.
By: Brett Boese, The Republican Eagle
For the second straight summer, Red Wing athletic director Matt Schultz has been charged with researching the continued viability of Red Wing’s presence in the Missota Conference.
His latest project came at the request of Red Wing School District Supt. Stan Slessor, who said he likely will cast a vote by Friday to reject the addition of Chaska and Chanhassen to the conference in 2010. Schultz provided his findings at Monday’s school board meeting, addressing questions and concerns about the proposed conference additions.
“I don’t see it making a lot of sense for a school our size,” Schultz told school board members.
Hutchinson will leave the Missota Conference after the upcoming school year. The addition of Chaska and Chanhassen would bump the conference up to nine schools.
However, Schultz’s number crunching has once again raised the question of how much longer staying in the conference makes sense for the Wingers.
Red Wing’s projected enrollment has fallen to 833 (adjusted for free/reduced lunch plans) for the upcoming year, marking a decline of 36 students since last year.
Enrollment numbers around the conference paint a different picture. All but Holy Angels and Northfield saw an increase in attendance.
“We all have around the same participation percentage, between 30 and 35 percent,” Schultz said prior to addressing the school board. “The difference is Prior Lake might have a different 35 percent playing in the winter and another 35 percent playing in the spring.
“Divide 833 by 21 (sports offered) and what do you get? That’s not enough kids. We’re 300 students bigger than some HVL schools and (1,200) smaller than some Missota schools.”
Red Wing did not win a conference game during the last academic year in four fall sports — volleyball, football, boys soccer and girls soccer. Many correlate that lack of success to the numbers disparity. The top alternative seems to be a return to the Big 9.
Rochester Century is the largest school in the Big 9 at 1,538 students. Six of the 10 schools have enrollments under 1,100 students compared to just three — including Red Wing — in the Missota.
However, travel times and fuel costs would go up under a switch to the Big 9, School Board members noted.
“The bigger question is, ‘What does the future hold for us?’” Slessor said Monday.
Schultz, who is also the football coach, said he enjoys the challenge that comes with playing such strong competition. However, he’s maintaining an open mind as the situation continues to evolve.
“It should be about what’s best for the kids,” Schultz said. “If it’s staying in the Missota, great. If it’s taking a closer look at the Big 9, we should do that.”