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High Schools

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Homestead, Carroll looking at independence

Since the April announcement the NHC would be disbanding, six members formed a new conference with two other schools.

But Homestead and Carroll, the big schools that prompted the dissolution of the conference, haven’t found a new home and are making plans as athletic independents – at least in the short term.

“We are exploring and looking, but we are no different than we were weeks ago,” Carroll athletic director Dan Ginder said.

Six NHC schools – Bellmont, Columbia City, DeKalb, East Noble, New Haven and Norwell – joined with Leo and Huntington North in June to form an unnamed conference that will begin in 2015. At that time, the NHC, which was formed in 1989, will fold.

“We just plug away,” Homestead athletic director Joe Updegrove said. “We knew change was imminent.”

Carroll and Homestead have begun building the football teams’ 2015 schedule, which will include nonconference games against some SAC opponents. It appears unlikely Carroll and Homestead will be full members of the eight-school SAC.

Homestead almost has its 2015 football schedule completed, with games against Huntington North, Valparaiso, Carroll, Hamilton Southeastern and SAC schools Bishop Luers, Bishop Dwenger, Northrop, Snider and possibly South Side.

“It may be the strongest football schedule we have seen here at Homestead,” said Updegrove, who added that he stays in communication with Ginder about conference and scheduling issues. “When looking at football, we wanted to play the best. It is definitely an advantage for our football team. In the past, we made everybody else better, and this makes us better.”

In Carroll’s case, the football schedule isn’t complete, but discussions and contracts have been exchanged with other schools.

“Because of end-of-school stuff and summer vacation and getting paperwork tied up, but some of that has at least the process started to formulate a schedule for us,” said Ginder, who indicated there have been talks with SAC schools about being on the football schedule. “We are trying to be proactive because two years will come quickly.”

Homestead seems to embrace the idea of being independent, but Carroll officials seem a bit more wary of not having a conference.

“It offers some obvious obstacles in terms of scheduling and working around other schools already being in a conference and working into their schedules,” Ginder said. “It is unique and offers opportunities, but at the same time offers obstacles.”

Ginder and Carroll officials have encouraged input from the school community, sending out a survey via email and social media asking what others want in a new conference.

“Some of the comments that were made were interesting,” Ginder said. “There is some education to be done. People assume some things about our current schedule that aren’t true. It never hurts to give people a voice – a chance to talk about it.”

Ginder said the results of the survey will be discussed with a task force of coaches and others.

“I was very clear with the group I am going to meet with that they will have a chance to have a voice, … but the decision will be with the administration at Carroll High School and Northwest Allen (Community Schools) and not community members,” Ginder said. “It’s just to get a feel for what people think, what they know and what the misconceptions and desires are. I feel like we have a good idea of what we want to do and what we need to do. But at the same time, it never hurts to give people a say.”

Updegrove said he also gets “feedback from coaches and parents.”