COUNCIL BLUFFS — Iowa Western’s scheduling problems for football may be a thing of the past.
The Iowa Community College Athletic Conference and Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference have entered an agreement that will alleviate the annual scramble to find nonleague games.
Beginning with the 2014 season, the three Iowa schools with football and the eight from Kansas will meet each other in round-robin play. The initial agreement also includes the 2015 season, and both conferences envision it evolving into a long-term alliance between the community college leagues.
Details of the agreement will be finalized when the conferences formally meet in May.
“The ICCAC and KJCCC (have) two of the strongest traditions in the NJCAA,” ICCAC commissioner Thom McDonald said in a statement. “It is a natural for us to work together to solidify our conference and our member football programs. This agreement gives us strength, stability and unprecedented exposure for our student-athletes.”
The three Iowa schools — Iowa Western, Iowa Central and Ellsworth — currently compete in the Midwest Football Conference. When the Reivers decided to add football in 2008, it was to become the 10th team in the league. Five have since discontinued football, leaving the five remaining struggling with schedules.
Iowa Western President Dan Kinney said he and the other Iowa community college presidents, concerned about the future of the MFC, have been discussing long-term solutions for more than a year. An agreement with the Jayhawk has been in the works since November.
With the MFC apparently disintegrating after this season, it will be a year of transition for league schools, which will play each other twice with a game at each location. With a home-and-home series with the four other league schools and three other nonconference away games, Iowa Western will play on the road seven times in 2013.
Kinney said the new scheduling agreement will make sure none of the Iowa schools will travel more than 7,200 miles while playing only four home games like the Reivers will this fall.
“With the three of us, it cuts down on a lot of travel for the Iowa schools and gives us some excellent competition,” he said. “This fall is going to be difficult. There’s a lot of travel for our football team.
“And the thing that I absolutely detest is that we play each other twice. I just don’t like doing that, but it gets us through this next year.”
DuPage (Ill.) and North Dakota State School of Science, the other two teams currently competing in the MFC, are not a part of the agreement with the Jayhawk. The deal will leave each Iowa school with an open date in its schedule, and Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier said he would like to continue to play either or both of those current MFC rivals in future nonconference games.
“From a travel standpoint, it would probably be one of those two,” he said. “If they weren’t interested, we could still go get another one.
“With those eight (Kansas games), it sure beefed up our schedule really fast. Anytime you can guarantee yourself that your schedule is set, it makes it a lot easier.”
Kinney said the rotation of the games in the new agreement will be discussed in the meetings next month. The cross-conference games will not count in the standings of either league, so the Iowa schools will compete in a three-team league.