A few weeks ago conference assignments were released by the Arkansas Athletic Association and it was questioned in this spot who on earth Atkins made mad.
In case you don’t recall, Atkins was slotted in a conference that includes Marianna and Barton. That’s more like a mid-round playoff trip than a conference game.
I didn’t specifically say so at the time but I expected someone to present another version of how they think the conferences should be aligned. It hasn’t happened as yet, at least not officially, but a writer friend of mine forwarded me a map the other day of what he thinks would be much easier on travel is not altogether more fair.
Of course I reminded my friend that fair is a relative term that is generally defined as what is best for me and mine.
That said, he did an outstanding job re-grouping the schools and examining the travel. Under the announced grouping the top 10 road trips range from 187 miles – Cedarville to Mountain View – to 153 miles, the aforementioned Atkins to Marianna.
Atkins made the top 10 travel list twice, as did Cedarville, McGehee, Fouke, Lake Village and Genoa Central but it was Mountain View who led the list with three appearances.
In my friend’s scenario, the longest conference game road trip wouldn’t make the top 10 of the current list. It would be a mile short represented by the 152 miles from Jessieville to Fouke. Rounding out the top 10 is 126 miles between Glen Rose and Horatio.
Nobody makes the list three times but Jessieville, Barton, Piggott, Corning, Lake Village and Marianna all have two appearances on the list.
In case you’re wondering, my friend’s grouping would change the Booneville conference quite a bit. Booneville, Paris, Lamar, Danville and Two Rivers from the current grouping would stay together, but rather than Charleston, Lavaca and Mansfield, the other three would be Atkins, Perryville and Mayflower.
That would shift the two Tigers and Arrows northward. Of course the good folks in northwest Arkansas may not want at least one of them, even if it means losing a trip to Mountain View and Yelleville-Summitt.
That isn’t to say that Perryville would like to see a Booneville, or other changes like Marianna hooking up with Piggott would be welcomed either.
As I understand it Atkins has a copy of the grouping. I wouldn’t be surprised if the campaigning, doesn’t start pretty soon.
As has been the case since news of Booneville’s pending drop to Class 3A broke, I took a look at the last time Booneville played the schools they could be facing. As for the newcomers in my friend’s grouping, Booneville has never faced Perryville or Mayflower.