You may have noticed by now that Blitz isn’t like normal bears.
He does not have to dodge hunters (that he knows of), he enjoys football and he has a Twitter account.
All three are quite rare for bears.
Another thing that is different is that Blitz hibernates during the non-football months, the opposite of his kind. When he does sleep, Blitz sleeps hard. When he sleeps hard, he dreams. When he dreams, he gets ideas.
One particular idea has stuck with Blitz for quite awhile.
What would a better version of the SAC look like?
The year is 2025, and the Summit Athletic Conference is in the midst of a significant revamp of itself.
After years of predictable domination by the mainstays Snider and Bishop Dwenger, along with the inflexibility of the scheduling format, coaches and athletic directors have agreed that the 2025 season will be the inaugural season of a new-look SAC.
The 10 teams have been split up into a pair of divisions. There are no “big” and “small” divisions, but rather an agreed-upon separation that attempts to make each division as even and competitive as possible. The schools were divided after significant amounts of analysis, discussion and voting by coaches and ADs.
The divisions are:
Each team will play all four of its intra-division opponents during the season, as well as two cross inter-division games. These six games will be played in weeks 3-8 in no particular order.
Rivalries will be preserved, such as Bishop Dwenger v. Bishop Luers, Carroll v. Homestead and North v. South. These games will be on the schedule every year.
The first two weeks of the season are open for non-conference games, similar to what the Northeast 8 currently has in place.
These games will be approached differently by each team. Snider will step out and play the best of the best in Class 6A, finding out just what it needs to do over the following two months to be ready for a run to challenge the schools around Indianapolis for a state title.
Similarly, Bishop Dwenger will take itself around the state, and perhaps out of the state, to take on parochial powerhouses.
Small-class powers such as Bishop Luers and Concordia Lutheran can use the two weeks to take on like-sized opponents in 2A and 3A.
Meanwhile, programs like Northrop, North Side and South Side can schedule programs close to themselves in status and depth. Adding a few non-conference wins in a season can be the difference between getting more kids out for the program and losing them to transfer.
South Side struggles to get kids to come play for the Archers when they finish 0-10 or 1-9. A 3-7 record is not as difficult to sell, and gives the program growth potential with a higher floor than going winless.
Week 9 is designated “Championship Week” with the schedule decided following Week 8’s games. The division champions will face off with the SAC Victory Bell on the line. Meanwhile, the two second-place teams will play, third place v. third place, etc.
The “SAC Championship Game” becomes a destination game each year, similar to the championship game in the Boys SAC Holiday Tournament. Convincing the University of Saint Francis to host the yearly game has been discussed in my dream 2025.
With the addition of turf at Zollner Stadium following the 2024 season, all nine playing fields in the SAC now have artificial surfaces. Snider and Northrop continue to share Spuller Stadium, which still needs major structural work done to its grandstands.
However, Fort Wayne Community Schools has scrounged up the funds to install turf at Wayne, North Side and South Side, as well as Snider’s Bowser Field, although it is not being considered for home varsity games.
Carroll has had a major revamp of its athletic facilities, not the least of which is a state-of-the-art, three-story press box. Hospitality area is top-notch and media fights over who gets to go cover the Chargers, though I’m not sharing my pulled pork with Zach Groth.
Luersfield has become a jewel of the south side of Fort Wayne after significant donations from former football players has allowed the school to construct a top-flight, multi-purpose athletics facility.
Open enrollment in FWCS is still a thing, but SAC coaches and administrators have an agreement in place to attempt to curtail the amount of transferring within the conference, or at least regulate it with a consistent set of rules.
Beginning in 2025 for all sports, including football, athletes wanting to transfer to another program and be immediately eligible MUST carry at least a C average in the classroom.
Transfer situations will no longer be manipulated by athletes, parents, coaches or administrators. The rule is simple – if a student-athlete sports a “C average or above” in the year proceeding the transfer, he/she is immediately eligible for competition.
If he/she does not meet the transfer guidelines, regardless of reasoning of transfer, that athlete must sit out one (1) season of athletics competition.
NO exceptions will be recognized.
While a blanket rule that some see as harsh for those in unique situations, the focus is put truly onto what is most important – excellence in the classroom. Athletics is secondary to good performance during the school day.
If the primary goal of a high school student is met in regards to curriculum, he/she can enjoy athletics competition at a new school immediately.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL
Can the above scenario come to fruition? Maybe. Blitz does not pretend to have all the answers. He is sure that his ideas aren’t all the greatest, but certain aspects of this column could be adopted in the future to put some spice back into the SAC on Friday nights.
What do you think? Should the SAC consider some of these changes?
OK, back to sleep.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH