12 schools, two divisions for the 2019 Flint Metro League

Madi Wheeler, Online Editor-in-Chief

After a two-year process of finalizing the new bylaws of the Flint Metro League, Fenton athletics will now participate in a two-division, 12 school league starting with the 2019-2020 school year.

Beginning next fall , there will be two different divisions–Stars and Stripes–within the league. Fenton, being a larger school, will be in the class A division along with Flushing, Swartz Creek, Holly, Linden and Kearsley. The class B division will consist of Brandon, Owosso, Lake Fenton, Clio, Corunna and Goodrich.

“The larger schools were in a tough spot,” Fenton Athletic Director Michael Bakker said. Fenton, Flushing— we’ve always been traditionally at the top of the league. We’ve done very well, been very successful in almost all of our sports. However, we also recognized that if we didn’t do something to help some of our smaller schools, then we might be out there on our own and that’s not a good scenario either. We’ll see; I’m optimistic about it. I’m excited to see the new challenges that it brings, but it’s going to take time for us to get used to it and for people to get used to the divisional format.”

Sports that will be affected by the two divisions currently include football, wrestling, volleyball, boys and girls basketball and track & field.

“The impact will be a difficult adjustment for Lake Fenton athletics,” Lake Fenton Athletic Director Brad LaRowe said. “We are going from the second largest school in the GAC enrollment-wise to the second smallest school in the Flint Metro League. The competition will be more difficult top to bottom than we are used to in most sports. The greatest impact will be geographically, as the Flint Metro League schools are much closer for travel than our current league. This will help with natural rivalries due to school proximity.”

This change in the Flint Metro League will affect every school and sport differently. Sports such as cross country will not see much change.

“It doesn’t impact us a ton,” Bakker said. “The largest impact is that in some sports we’re going to lose the ability to schedule some of our non-league games. For example, soccer is a one division sport; we’ve now picked up three opponents. That means we have to drop three games, so who is that going to be? Now we’ve enjoyed the luxury of playing some Flint Metro schools twice: once as a league contest and once as a non-league game. For example, Linden. Now we have to decide if we are only going to play them once as a league and not again a second time. In a sport like football, where we only have one non-league contest, we’re now going to have three non-league contests. Football is a division sport, so you only play the people in your division and one crossover game to determine the league winner.”

The decision to expand the Flint Metro League came after many of the school districts had drops in enrollment; along with three new schools joining the league: Corunna, Goodrich and Lake Fenton. Spectators, athletes, coaches and fans can look for new opponents starting in the fall.

** Athletic directors from Corunna and Goodrich were contacted, but not available for comment.