OTTUMWA — The decision has been made: Ottumwa High School athletic teams will leave their conference and start their own.
The new conference will include Des Moines public schools, Indianola and Marshalltown. It will also allow Ottumwa to play some longtime rivals like Fairfield and Mt. Pleasant.
"The timeline they're looking at is the 2016-17 school year," said Ottumwa district Superintendent Davis Eidahl.
Eidahl was addressing the school board Monday night, which voted unanimously to support the change from the CIML.
"We would like to proceed with joining this conference," Eidahl said. "You've heard from Mr. [Tom] Kopatich and Mr. [Mark] Hanson. [We] can't really find any negatives for our athletes or our families."
Instead of 19 teams, the new league, once known as the Southeast Seven, now called the Southeast Conference, would have eight teams.
Board member David Weilbrenner asked for clarification on what might happen if one of the desired schools votes against joining the new conference.
"Then this vote [today] is moot, and we go on as before [in our present conference]," Eidahl said.
The change will not affect football, which has its own conference with its own set of bylaws.
— Follow Tweets by reporter Mark Newman @couriermark