Pinckney AD: ‘Nothing in stone’ on school’s future in KLAA

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To reports of the KLAA’s imminent demise, several athletic directors said Thursday night: Not so fast.

The Detroit Free Press reported Friday that 10 schools, including Pinckney will be leaving the league after the 2016-17 school year.

“Nothing’s in stone yet,” Pinckney athletic director Brian Wardlow said Thursday night. “We’re doing our best to try and make it work. We’re looking forward to competing in the KLAA next year, and after that it’s still up in the air.”

The schools reportedly leaving include the three Walled Lake high schools and two each in the South Lyon, Waterford and Huron Valley school districts.

Among the issues cited are disparities in attendance, from Grand Blanc with more than 2,700 students to South Lyon East, which has less than 1,000; and some of the distances between high schools, especially Grand Blanc, which is 24 miles from Waterford Kettering and 25 miles from Hartland and Waterford Mott, the closest schools.

Howell athletic director Dan Hutcheson says league members have been working hard to resolve some of the differences.

“It’s always a tough task to get two people to agree, let alone 24 schools,” he said. “We’ve been working diligently and put out a great effort, but you never know how it’s going to shake out.”

The league was created in 2008 through a merger of the Kensington Valley Conference and the Western Lakes Activities Association, along with the addition of the Waterford schools from the Oakland Activities Association.

According to league bylaws, schools who want to withdraw must do so a year in advance.

“It certainly appears there may be some schools leaving,” Brighton athletic director John Thompson said, “but we haven’t officially received notice from any school at this juncture. The landscape could change.”

KLAA member schools have been working to iron out differences for more than a year, Thompson said.

“We’re looking for ways to have a positive situation for all 24 member schools,” he added. “The reality is, like anything else, I’m not sure you can make everyone happy. … Everyone has their own situation. Every school district is different.”

“It’s one of those situations where you have to have a domino fall to know what the next steps are,” Hutcheson said. “We’ll meet as a group, look at the plans and see how we function as a group,. Hopefully all 24 schools stay as this gets sorted out. But this is a work in progress.”