WEBSTER CITY - Is the North Central Conference on the path to drop from 10 schools down to nine?
Algona Bishop Garrigan, the smallest of the NCC schools, has applied for membership to the North Iowa Conference along with North Union - the consolidated efforts of the former school districts Armstrong-Ringstead and North Sentral Kossuth. A vote by the current NIC members on the addition of the two schools is expected to take place sometime before the end of the calendar year.
The NIC is currently home to eight schools - Forest City, Lake Mills, Osage, West Hancock, Belmond-Klemme, North Iowa Buffalo Center, Mason City Neman and Garner-Hayfield/Ventura. Six would need to vote in the affirmative to allow Garrigan and North Union to enter.
Garrigan athletic director Ron Patterson confirmed his school's request to the Mason City Globe Gazette on Thursday and said school size and geography are the primary reasons why the school decided to explore its options.
"We are considerably the smallest school in the North Central Conference," Patterson told the Globe Gazette. "In the North Iowa, we would still be the third-smallest. The other is simple geography. It would be a tremendous fit travel-wise as opposed to Iowa Falls, Hampton and Webster City."
Webster City athletic director Bob Howard confirmed that Garrigan officials have made their intentions known to the rest of the conference schools.
"The conference is aware of it. They said something about it at the last (conference) meeting," Howard said.
A timetable for the transition is still unknown should the NIC vote to accept Garrigan and North Union.
"My guess is the earliest it would happen would be in 2014-15, but I don't know," Howard said. "I think (Garrigan) would have to honor a couple years of contracts."
Garrigan joined the NCC in 1994 alongside Fort Dodge St. Edmond, giving the league 10 schools.