It's time for a 'super conference' to stabilize the Lehigh Valley area's high school leagues

It's time to put everyone in one pot so schools don't have to worry about their future.

The news last week that the Colonial League made Moravian Academy and Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg full-time members and invited Lehighton and Pleasant Valley to join may signal a change for area leagues.

The Colonial League, according to President Tom Moll, is taking the initiative in trying to expand and appease its membership, which may not be as harmonious as it once was.

The Mountain Valley Conference called it something else.

"It's inappropriate," Stroudsburg Principal and MVC President Jeff Sodl told the Pocono Record. "They did it in a back door kind of way."

I have no idea whether or not Lehighton, which had already committed to the Schuylkill League and the Anthracite Football League beginning with the 2014-15 school year, or Pleasant Valley will accept the Colonial League's offer.

What I do know is that this has the potential to get as crazy locally as the major college league shake-up was nationally.

Pleasant Valley in the Colonial League? Doesn't sound quite right, does it? But neither does Rutgers playing in the Big Ten.

Schools have to look at what's best for them long-term and not be tied to the past. Same goes for leagues looking to stay viable, and that's what both the Mountain Valley Conference and Colonial League are trying to do in a climate of increasing discord.

We're always hearing that this team is unhappy here and wants to go there.

You hear, for example, that Southern Lehigh and Northwestern are growing districts that will soon outgrow the rest of the Colonial League.

We also hear the chatter that Lehigh Valley Conference officials are upset with Bethlehem Catholic in regard to where and how the Golden Hawks get some of the athletes who play on their teams.

It's all disconcerting and unsettling. Everybody wants the focus to be on the field of play, not on what is happening behind closed doors at league meetings.

You can understand Sodl's irritation at the Colonial League coming after one of his schools because the Mountain Valley Conference will be down to six members as of 2014-15, even if it retains Pleasant Valley, and you wonder how long a league can go with just six teams.

And there's ever-increasing speculation that the Pocono Mountain schools will consolidate in the next few years because of declining enrollment and that East Stroudsburg North may go to the Lackawanna League where it may be a better geographic fit.

It's my belief that it's time for league officials to tear down what's in place, because it's obviously not working for a lot of schools, and reconstruct everything in the form of a "super conference."

It's hardly a new concept. It has been talked about for years, and now more than ever, it should be looked at as a way of placing teams where they most naturally fit in terms of geography and, more importantly, school size.

I say take the Lehigh Valley Conference, the Mountain Valley Conference and Colonial League and put them all in one pot and rearrange them.

With the 12 LVC members, 14 Colonial League members (including Notre Dame-ES and Moravian Academy), the seven current MVC members, and bringing others aboard like Pius X and Jim Thorpe, you can do a lot of different things. Flexibility would be the biggest benefit.

The other night I wrote down all of the schools and put them where I thought they belonged — based on size and location — in something I'd call the Eastern Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, my counterpart to the mighty WPIAL in and around Pittsburgh.

My EPIAA would have a "Big School League" and a "Small School League."

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