The Ottumwa Courier

April 15, 2014

Where to play

By MARK NEWMAN
Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference.

Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join their conference: The Southeast Conference, formerly known as the Southeast Seven.

It's worth thinking about, Eidahl said. He stressed that the talks were just that at this point: talk.

"We are exploring different conferences," he said. "Any [move, however,] would be a board decision."

The Southeast Conference, Eidahl has been told, has also reached out to Burlington's school district. The conference already includes 3A schools like Fairfield and Mount Pleasant.

And, said board member Ron Oswalt, at one time, Ottumwa was part of the Southeast Seven.

There's a second possibility. Ottumwa High School plays in the CIML Metro Conference. Eidahl said he'd been wondering whether the district might benefit by defecting from Metro with eight other schools. Or staying in Metro with or without making other arrangements for play.

Some of those teams would be Des Moines schools, and the superintendent feels such a league would still be challenging.

"We'd have to weigh the pros and cons," Eidahl told the school board in open session Monday.

Topics to consider: scheduling, travel distance and competitiveness.

"We want to see what's best for our community, our coaches and especially, our athletes," Eidahl said.

News reporter Mark Newman is on Twitter @couriermark