Fremont Athletic Director Roger Probst confirmed Tuesday that the Northeast Corner Conference will return to a two-division format in football when Garrett rejoins the league for the 2014-15 school year.
The NECC formerly had two divisions prior to Garrett departing the league for the ACAC in 2005.
The divisions will be based on school enrollment, with the “big school” division featuring Garrett, Angola, Fairfield, West Noble and Lakeland.
The “small school” division will consist of Fremont, Churubusco, Eastside, Prairie Heights and Central Noble.
Each team will play the other four in their division during the regular season.
“When Garrett left (the NECC), it was not real attractive to have five teams in one division and four in another,” Probst said. “But with Garrett returning, and the growing disparity with the enrollments of smaller and larger schools, it made sense to go back to it.”
Due to the two divisions, there will not be a single NECC football champion but instead two division winners crowned.
There will be no tiebreakers used in the event that the two first-place teams play each other in the regular season.
Beginning in the 2014 campaign, NECC teams will have the first two weeks of the season open for non-conference games. Some of the schools have decided to play cross-divisional matchups during the first two weeks, while others, such as Class 4A Angola, will likely play out-of-conference opponents.
“Making the first two weeks an option for teams allows some of the bigger schools to beef up their schedule,” Probst said. “It helps prepare them for the postseason.”
Weeks three and four will be cross-divisional games for all teams, with weeks five through eight being reserved for intra-divisional matchups.
Week nine will be another cross-divisional week for all 10 teams.
No other sports will be going to a division format in the NECC apart from track, which already utilizes two divisions with its 11 schools that includes non-football playing members Hamilton and Westview and will grow to 12 when Garrett joins in 2014.
With conference uncertainty abound in Northeast Indiana, Garrett's addition and the commitment of Angola to stay within the NECC has given the league the appearance of long-term stability.
“I am not going to speak for anybody else, but right now we feel really good about where we are as a conference,” Probst said. “Every (school) that is in seems happy and I would doubt we would add anybody else.
“At this point in time, we feel we have a good, solid conference.”