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Gorches: PCC now as it should be

Boone Grove coach Candy Wilsspeaks with her players before game against Hanover Central Tuesday January 17 2012. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times

Boone Grove coach Candy Wilson speaks with her players before a game against Hanover Central on Tuesday, January 17, 2012. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 24, 2012 7:25AM



Conference movement seems to be a theme in the sports world lately.

Of course, that’s mostly about the big money world of college sports — specifically football and the impending landscape of four super conferences that are around the corner.

Not to mention the nonsensical math involved — the Big Ten hasn’t been the Big Ten in almost 20 years. At least I thought “Ten” meant 10, not 12 or the 14 it will be in less than two years when Maryland and Rutgers arrive from the east.

The Big-12 is actually just 10 schools since some departures a couple years ago.

I’m confused.

Remember the Pac-10? It’s been 12 for two years, and therefore it changed its name to the Pac-12 after being named the Pac-8 from 1964 to 1978. Mathematical common sense is a novel concept.

Before being called the Pac-8-10-12, it was called the Pacific Coast Conference — PCC for short. And that leads into Northwest Indiana conference movement recently involving the Porter County Conference — yes, it also goes by the PCC.

That’s what you call a segue.

The region’s PCC hasn’t been around quite as long as the Pac-12’s precursor, which began in 1915. But as far as high school conferences go, it’s pretty old, dating back to 1958 when representatives from Boone Grove, Hebron, Jackson Township, Kouts, Liberty Township, Morgan Township, Washington Township and Wheeler met and decided to put their schools together athletically.

It’s had changes over the years. In 1969 Jackson and Liberty Township schools became members of the Duneland School Corporation, basically being “swallowed” by Chesterton High School. Hanover Central joined the PCC in 1972. Four years later LaCrosse and Westville joined the PCC.

Westville left in 1998 to eventually become part of the now defunct Northland Conference, which was a total waste of time. I don’t pretend to know why that conference that also consisted of South Central, River Forest, Argos, Oregon-Davis and Marquette.

Yeah, those schools have so much in common that they needed to be together in the conglomeration.

I never got it and still don’t get it.

Westville is back.

Well, it actually never went anywhere except in the no man’s land of being an independent. But after a 14-year absence, the Blackhawks announced they will return to the PCC next school year.

It’s a perfect match, though I’m not happy about the circumstances leading up to it.

Westville may be in LaPorte County geographically, but it fits the close knit, small-school ambiance of the PCC. Big city high school sports fans just don’t understand. Until you’ve witnessed the tradition of the PCC basketball tournament, you can’t begin to comprehend how much family and basketball means to the people involved in the conference.

I’m one of those big city guys from Hammond who scoffed at PCC tradition several years ago. Then I covered a PCC Tournament, and then I covered another and another, and it grows on you. Now I compartmentalize basketball — my favorite spectator sport — into high-flying city ball and the PCC. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s why Westville belongs back in the PCC, and Hanover doesn’t.

First, the PCC showed it doesn’t want Hanover anymore, and vice versa since the Wildcats decided to leave the PCC for the Greater South Shore Conference in 2015. The PCC just voted to end the relationship two years early.

The GSSC fits for Hanover, just like the PCC fits for Westville. Hanover is now a 3A school, bigger than every PCC school, and it’s adding football, which isn’t a PCC sport.

For the record, that’s one thing that bothers me about the PCC — no football except for Boone Grove (which recently added the sport) and South Central, which actually plays its football in the GSSC because Marquette doesn’t have football.

Are you confused?

I’ve always thought PCC boys should have the choice between non-sanctioned volleyball and the IHSAA’s cash cow in football. But nobody’s perfect.

I still think Boone Grove should at least consider trying to get into another conference for football like South Central.

Maybe that will still happen in the near future.

Maybe Boone will eventually make its way to the GSSC for football and start rivalries with South Central and Hanover.

But one thing is for certain: Just like in college sports, Northwest Indiana conference alignments are more likely to change in the near future than stay the same based on the last decade.

Are you listening Earl Smith Jr.? Get that conference made up of Gary schools, charter schools and East Chicago as soon as possible.

Are you listening Northwest Crossroads Conference? Accept Morton into your seven-team group — how stupid is it not to have an even number of teams? — to improve your competitive balance and allow the other three Hammond schools to maybe join the Gary schools.

And are you listening Duneland Conference? Oh wait, that group is perfectly constructed, especially since it’s getting rid of the double round-robin in basketball.

The point is, being a member of a conference is 10 times, 100 times, 1,000 times ... heck, how about one million times better for kids than not being in a legitimate conference, and the PCC is the best example of that statement.



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