Brandywine will play in a division with Mendon, Cassopolis and Bronson when the Berrien-Cass-St. Joe Conference (BCS) debuts later this month. (Leader photo/File)
Brandywine will play in a division with Mendon, Cassopolis and Bronson when the Berrien-Cass-St. Joe Conference (BCS) debuts later this month. (Leader photo/File)

Archived Story

BCS expanding to 15 teams for 2015-16

Published 9:04am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Without even holding an athletic event, the Berrien-Cass-St. Joe Conference (BCS) is expanding from 10 to 15 teams for the 2015-16 school year.

Brandywine Superintendent John Jarpe made the announcement Monday that former Wolverine Conference member Comstock, former Kalamazoo Valley Association member Parchment and former Red Arrow member Michigan Lutheran will join the BCS next year.

The meeting of BCS superintendents and athletic directors took place Aug. 8

In May, current Wolverine Conference member Berrien Springs and former Lakeland Conference member River Valley were added to the league.

Since Berrien Springs, Coloma and Edwardsburg left the Lakeland Conference to join the Wolverine, the four remaining members of the Lakeland — Brandywine, Buchanan, Cassopolis and Bridgman — have been working with members of the former St. Joe Valley league to form a new 10-team conference.

Joining the former Lakeland schools are Bronson, Centreville, Mendon and White Pigeon.

Former Red Arrow members New Buffalo and Lake Michigan Catholic also joined the BCS.

With the departure of River Valley, New Buffalo and LMC, the Red Arrow has just four teams remaining — Benton Harbor Countryside Academy, Covert, Marcellus Howardsville Christian and Watervliet Grace Christian.

“At Friday’s meeting, there was some discussion that no other new members for 2015-16 may be considered beyond the fall of this school year, but no exact deadline date for the final applications has been determined yet,” Jarpe said.

The 2015-16 alignment for football will be three divisions. There are no current divisions for the remaining sports the BCS offers.

Buchanan will land in a division with the other three Class B schools — Comstock, Parchment and Berrien Springs.

Brandywine will play in a division with powerhouse Mendon, Bronson and Cassopolis.

The third division will be made up of Bridgman, Centreville, White Pigeon, New Buffalo, LMC and River Valley.

There are no mandatory crossovers for football and periodically, the league will look at division re-alignment based on enrollment and recent strengths.

“There was a hope on Berrien Springs’ part when they joined our league,” Jarpe said. “There was some talk at that time when the Kalamazoo Valley league was imploding, that there were going to be some schools left over that were going to be homeless.

“Two of those, Parchment and Comstock, talked to us even at the time when Berrien and River Valley were joining. They asked if we could wait and see how everything fell out up their way.”

Jarpe knows there could be some hiccups during the first year of the BCS, but noted that they will keep on top of things to make sure they run smoothly.

The loss of Berrien Springs and Coloma drops the Wolverine Conference back to 10 teams.

Dowagiac Athletic Director Brent Nate said that is not a problem.

“The Wolverine Conference will be a strong 10-team league next year,” he said. “At this current time, the Wolverine Conference is not looking to expand. I believe that the 10 remaining schools in the Wolverine Conference are strongly committed to the conference and we will move forward as a 10-team league.”

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