As more and more teams huddled under the Colorado Springs Metro League umbrella, it simply grew too crowded.
With three umbrellas instead of one big one, area athletic directors hope everyone’s needs can be met.
Without disclosing the exact tally – other than to say it was not unanimous – Metro League president Dave Eichman said the league’s 16 schools voted Tuesday to divide into separate eight-team leagues.
The six 5A schools will also break into their own league, but that was a mere formality as they already competed separately.
“It’s huge,” Eichman said of the league’s disbanding. “People are nervous about it. It’s just the right thing to do at this time, but it’s not something that everybody wanted to do. It just kind of needed to be done.”
One 4A league will consist of Air Academy, Cheyenne Mountain, Discovery Canyon, Falcon, Lewis-Palmer, Palmer Ridge, Sand Creek and Vista Ridge. The other will include Coronado, Harrison, Mesa Ridge, Mitchell, Sierra, Wasson, Widefield and Woodland Park.
Neither 4A league has decided on its name.
The league breakdown will be in affect for all sports except football, which is under a different format as more classifications are required to cover 6-man and 8-man leagues.
But for everything else, it means longtime allegiances will be broken.
“It’s somber, to be honest with you,” Eichman said. “It’s really weird because everybody is so close, it’s almost like losing somebody. You feel a little bit lost.”
The Colorado High School Activities Association will review the league’s plan at a Nov. 15 meeting and, pending approval, all changes will go into affect starting in the 2012-13 school year.
The six 5A schools – Doherty, Fountain-Fort Carson, Liberty, Palmer, Pine Creek and Rampart – will likely hold onto the Colorado Springs Metro League moniker.
Playoff spots and other logistics will be hashed out in league meetings and CHSAA committees.
Eichman said the league simply outgrew itself. In the dozen years that he has been involved the Metro League had added Falcon (which jumped from 3A) as well as Discovery Canyon, Palmer Ridge and Vista Ridge.
“That’s part of what’s got us to where we’re at,” said Eichman, who is the athletic director for District 11. “We keep adding teams.”
The new leagues were grouped primarily based on geography, though keeping district schools together was also a priority. That left Cheyenne Mountain and Woodland Park as the wild cards, and Eichman said Cheyenne Mountain’s greater variety of sports – hockey and lacrosse, for example – made it a more logical pairing in a league with similar schools.
“It wasn’t unanimous, but it was close,” Eichman said. “There might have been one or two schools that either abstained or voted against it. But even those schools, I can tell you, were good with it. They could go either way with whatever everybody else wanted.”