Only two years after the Central State Activities Association realigned to a single-division, 11-team conference, the CSAA is going to return to two divisions this coming fall.
This comes in light of the most recent move within the league, as Central Montcalm is slated to move from the “Gold” division to the “Silver” division for the next school year.
“Central Montcalm has decided that they would like to join the CSAA Silver division,” League Secretary and Kent City Athletic Director Jason Vogel said. “I cannot speak (directly) for Central Montcalm, but at Kent City, we are excited to see the Hornets on a more regular basis.”
According to Vogel, the CSAA will be returning to the two-division structure for cross country, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, and track and field. These sports along with football, who kept the two-division system the last two years, will see the gold division contain the following six teams: Big Rapids, Chippewa Hills, Grant, Newaygo, Reed City and Tri-County. The newly aligned silver division will contain Central Montcalm, Kent City, Lakeview, Morley Stanwood, and White Cloud. For the non-listed sports, which includes golf, soccer, bowling, wrestling, and competitive cheer, the CSAA will be keeping the one division format.
While Central Montcalm Athletic Director Kris Kolbe was not able to be contacted for comment, Morley Stanwood Athletic Director Dale Rogers spoke highly of the move for the conference’s long-term stability.
“We are indeed excited to welcome them to our league,” Rogers said. “I am confident that this move will provide exciting opportunities for our student-athletes to showcase their talents and compete at a high level. We look forward to building strong relationships with Central Montcalm and further enriching the athletic experiences for all involved.”
When asked about the process of the league’s shift, Reed City Athletic Director Ryan Hansen said the goal was to balance the league as best as possible.
“When the conversation took place to break back into divisions, the goal was to make the divisions near-equal,” Hansen said. “The logical decision would be to split the teams by high school enrollment, but some schools didn't want to switch to the silver division. Central Montcalm volunteered to move from the Gold to the Silver to bring our divisions to 6 Gold teams and 5 Silver teams.”
Hansen also said the conference will be continuing to “build language” for dictating what division each school will be assigned to, as the conference is open to adding new teams in the next few years. Belding, who applied for league acceptance in 2023, was rejected by a majority vote.
This will be the third significant move from the CSAA since 2020. The first came in 2021 when Hesperia, Holton, and Fremont left the league for the West Michigan Conference. The second occurred in 2020, which an invitation meeting was held with six schools: Belding, Hart, Ludington, North Muskegon, Ravenna, and Shelby.