Gull Lake released from all contracts except football

Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Wolverine Conference Board of Governors voted unanimously on Tuesday to release Gull Lake from its league contracts in all sports with the exception of football for the 2011-12 school year, it announced in a press release.

“Both the Wolverine Conference and Gull Lake agreed that it would be in the best interest of all conference schools, as well as their student-athletes, to maintain the football schedules for one more year due to the difficulty of finding replacements at this point,” the release said.

Gull Lake was accepted into the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC) in a vote last week. The Blue Devils will now begin competition in all sports except football next fall. Jackson Lumen Christi, which plays football as part of the SMAC, will play one more season there before having to find a new conference affiliation.

Gull Lake became the ninth member of the Wolverine Conference in the 1974-75 school year. The league formed during the 1952-53 year and was set up to be for schools that were Class B or lower in enrollment.

According to the league constitution, when a school becomes Class A for two years, it becomes ineligible to remain a member of the conference.

This past fall the Blue Devils’ enrollment numbers would place them in Class A for the next coming school year. According to the release, Gull Lake “decided to look at opportunities in the SMAC.”

Last December, the Wolverine Conference began discussions about expanding with an eye on the 2012-13 season.

“The conference is continuing down that path and, in addition, looking for a replacement for Gull Lake,” the release continues. “This week, letters will be sent to area schools to determine their interest. From that response, the number of schools to be determined in the league and the format for future competition will be established.

“Gull Lake, which has been a valuable member of the league over the past 36 years, contributing a great deal to the competition offered member schools, will definitely be missed. The SMAC will be adding a quality program to its league.”