Madison Consolidated Schools to Vacate the Hoosier Hills Conference


Hannah Uhl and Harper Watson

Last evening, at the February 5th Madison Consolidated Schools board meeting, the motion for Madison Consolidated High School to withdraw from the Hoosier Hills Athletic Conference was approved due to the competitive imbalance athletes and coaches are faced with due to a reduction in enrollment over the years, creating a considerable gap between MCHS and HHC Schools. This action will take place after the spring season of 2021.

As of now, Madison has the smallest school population at approximately 863 students, while Jeffersonville High School, another member of the Hoosier Hills Conference, has more than double that. 

MCS Superintendent Jeff Studebaker repeatedly proclaimed:

“It is a numbers game that we simply cannot win.”

Studebaker believes that sports are to instill experiences that are rich with opportunities to build relations, belongings, and accomplishments. The point is to have competitiveness that will inspire our children to participate; this is something that he feels MCHS is lacking but can be gained by this transfer.

“I am not advocating we go to a conference where we dominate,” Studebaker said.

Instead, it was approved by a unanimous board vote that MCHS will be independent of any conference. MCHS expects to receive an invitation to go elsewhere reasonably quickly. However, if that does not happen, they are open to the idea of creating their own conference.

“In order to give our athletes the best possible preparation for the sectional tournament and a good experience overall, we need to make this move so that we can have competitive balance,” said Studebaker.

Studebaker used the example of Lafayette Central Catholic, a school where he was employed as a teacher, to further his reasoning for leaving the HHC. Lafayette Central Catholic in the same position Madison is currently in, which is trying to compete in a conference where they were seriously outnumbered. Studebaker explained that as soon as the school moved to a conference with schools closer to their size, the entire culture of the school changed. Studebaker witnessed students gain a sense of pride in their school, something he hopes MCHS can experience as well.

“It totally changed everything; it wasn’t just stuff that was happening on the athletic field, it was a perceptible change. It (was) like somebody lit a firecracker,” Studebaker explained. 

An entire cultural change is what Studebaker hopes for, he explained,

“This is just the beginning of some really awesome things that can happen for us.”