U.P. Power is dead

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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby GNCrocks » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:34 pm

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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby whatsgoINon » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:25 am

I think because the power/decision making has been left to the coaches and AD's in MI, this is the result. Like many of you have stated, the path of least resistance. The system has been set up to destroy any shred of tradition, loyalty, honor, toughness, history, etc. The only thing that matters to say 80% of the coaches/AD's/schools/boards/etc. is "how can we manipulate our schedule so it costs the least amount of money, time, effort, teaching, to get to 5 or 6 wins because then we had a "memorable" and great season because we made the playoffs. It's all superficial, feel good, everyone gets a trophy crap. Means nothing. There aren't enough tough, old school coaches and AD's left to have this system. The MHSAA is totally ok with this too, they keep making money, they don't care. The focus of the conversation should be on them and Jack Roberts. They are behind WI and IN as far as how to run a State High School Sports Association. Personally I would've rather gone 0-9 playing great football against great teams than be 9-0 fabricating a soft schedule against the sisters of the poor and school for the blind/deaf and playing bad football. I think that everyone should be all over the MHSAA to dictate conferences, schedules, and playoff pairings. Granted, IN had only 320 teams playing this year and that is much less than MI. But a good principle is still a good principle. They put the enrollments in order, start drawing lines based on that and geography and that is your conference. That's who you play for 6-7 games. There are a couple open weeks for rivalry/showcase games. Then everyone is in the Playoffs, the sectionals are pre-determined, and away they go. I've watched 5-4/6-3 teams down here win state titles. Another thing that doesn't exist, school of choice, you go to the school district that you live in. In WI it's no different, here is your conference, winning record/.500 in conference? you're in. MHSAA is so a**backwards by allowing the power and decision making to be left to coaches, AD's, schools, etc. There should be a hundred schools marching on Ramblewood Dr. at Jack Roberts office, all over the news media, demanding change. The coaches, AD's, schools, etc. have shown they cannot do what's right themselves. Coaches are more worried about their own ego, records, unwillingness to answer/say to the public "hey we're just not talented this year but are working hard to be competitive." AD's are just worried about parents complaining when the team is not doing good and then their kid isn't playing and then the AD feels pressured to not bring back the coach just to shut nimwit parents up instead of admitting they're just not very good and it wouldn't matter who coached the team etc. Perhaps the larger issue is that the MHSAA doesn't really care about the UP at all. They don't really have these problems downstate, they don't care that a third to half of all the state titles are won by private schools each year, it was a tremendous struggle just to get the UP included to compete with the rest of the state for many sports. If the UP doesn't take care of each other, it's been shown that no one else will, and sadly, we're now showing up here that we refuse to do what's right and take care of each other and protect the histories/traditions/etc. that we all love and remember. If things don't get legislated from the bottom up, I'm afraid that UP Power is dead.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby HSFB Fan » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:49 am

whatsgoINon wrote:Perhaps the larger issue is that the MHSAA doesn't really care about the UP at all.


Dilly Dilly.

whatsgoINon wrote:If the UP doesn't take care of each other, it's been shown that no one else will, and sadly, we're now showing up here that we refuse to do what's right and take care of each other and protect the histories/traditions/etc. that we all love and remember. If things don't get legislated from the bottom up, I'm afraid that UP Power is dead.


This is exactly right.
The U.P. is NOT taking care of itself. It is being destroyed by a few AD's in a Steakhouse in Covington.
93 years IM/K: Gone.
123 years N/MRQT: Gone.

Why do the WESTPAC cronies get to determine what happens to the rest of the U.P.?
I use to have a ton of respect for the WESTPAC... West Iron, Calumet, etc. Despite ups and downs, they are always competitive and always play good football.
Based on the "Secret meeting" my respect is fading fast.
I would like to see the minuets of that meeting.....
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby Hueby » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:49 am

Escanaba will come out with a revised helmet decal next season. People will be like "What happened to the U.P.in the middle of the E?"

They'll be like "Oh, that's just the map of the Marquette, Delta, Dickinson and Menominee Counties."
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby Hambone » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:13 pm

First things first, I know from dealing with this for 25 years. You don't want the MHSAA stepping in and making conference assignments. In Wisconsin the WIAA has done this and it is train wreck, hence the constant realignment of conferences in SE Wisconsin and other areas of the State.

Second, the MPC approached the West PAC. The West PAC already had large/small divisions figured out for next season until the cloak and dagger stuff happened when the MPC announced that they wanted to join the party.

Finally, everyone should not make the playoffs. The fact that you have to earn a playoff spot is what make football special compared to the other sports. Unfortunately you have coaches and AD's now trying to take the path of least resistance to earning playoff spots.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby whatsgoINon » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:34 am

There’s no place like home for Gladstone

Braves heading back to Great Northern Conference next year

LOCAL SPORTS
DEC 7, 2017

MIKE MATTSON
Sports Editor
mmattson@dailypress.net



Mike Mattson | Daily Press
The Gladstone football team bursts through its banner as it takes the field before a game against Westwood during this past season.
Mike Mattson | Daily Press The Gladstone football team bursts through its banner as it takes the field before a game against Westwood during this past season.

ESCANABA – Gladstone and the Great Northern Conference are back together after a one-year separation.


Gladstone athletic director Andy Jacques said the Braves were formally accepted back into the GNC during a meeting of league ADs Wednesday in Escanaba. Gladstone will start GNC competition again at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

“We are really excited about it,” Jacques said. “It will definitely benefit our kids. It’s great competition and we’re happy to be in a partnership with them again. I love working with the Great Northern Conference athletic directors. They were great to accept Gladstone in again.”

Gladstone had left the GNC in 2016 for the Mid-Peninsula Conference in the current school year. But the M-PC is dissolving in football, with Iron Mountain, Westwood, Gwinn, Ishpeming and Negaunee joining the West-PAC.

So Gladstone applied for a return to the GNC and acceptance was granted Wednesday. The GNC includes Escanaba, Marquette, Menominee and Kingsford.

Sault High competed in GNC football the past two seasons and last fall in volleyball, but the Blue Devils informed the league they will not be back for those two sports.

Gladstone won the outright M-PC football title this fall. Jacques has been busy trying to fill the Braves schedule for next season.

He has eight games in place and is looking for a ninth date at home. Only three games are scheduled for home at this point.

The 2018 football schedule is: Week 1 St. Ignace; Week 2 Gaylord; Week 3 Menominee; Week 4 Kingsford; Week 5 Maple City Glen Lake; Week 6 Sault High; Week 7 Escanaba; and Week 8 Marquette.

Jacques said Gladstone will benefit from being in other GNC sports, too.

There are discussions to start league competition in baseball and softball.

For basketball, Jacques said Gladstone will continue to play the same schools since the M-PC is trying to stay together in basketball and other sports.

“We are dedicated to the GNC now,” Jacques said. “That is our first priority. If we can play the other (M-PC) schools in other sports we will.

“It’s exciting times for us. It will create great competition for our kids. It will be a lot of fun.”
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby whatsgoINon » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:43 am

First things first, I know from dealing with this for 25 years. You don't want the MHSAA stepping in and making conference assignments. In Wisconsin the WIAA has done this and it is train wreck, hence the constant realignment of conferences in SE Wisconsin and other areas of the State. -
~It works beautifully in Indiana, wonder what the difference is between the two states.

Second, the MPC approached the West PAC. The West PAC already had large/small divisions figured out for next season until the cloak and dagger stuff happened when the MPC announced that they wanted to join the party.
~Agree

Finally, everyone should not make the playoffs. The fact that you have to earn a playoff spot is what make football special compared to the other sports. Unfortunately you have coaches and AD's now trying to take the path of least resistance to earning playoff spots.
~Agree with last statement, but I think that if everyone is in, it places ALOT less importance on that aspect of it (doing whatever you can with scheduling to make sure you get in), along with districts being pre-determined, they are still seeded properly. It would place importance on actually winning sectional, conference, and regional titles etc. When everyone is in, the teams you're going to possibly play in the post season are pre-determined, and the conferences are set, and playoff bracket is seeded from there, there really isn't anything that AD's and coaches can do to improve their chances and take a path of least resistance. At that point it is beneficial to play a tougher schedule to prepare you for the teams you're likely to meet in the post season. It also explains why some of these tougher teams with tougher schedules that have 3 or 4 regular season losses are winning State Titles, and they aren't private schools.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby upfootball » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:18 am

Welcome back Gladstone. I like the comments of the new Gladstone AD. So far I am very impressed with him from the outside looking in.

Very sorry to see the Sault go. If its for an opportunity that makes sense. Good for them. If its to dummy down the schedule. You should consider consulting Matt Houle.

It would be nice if someone would write up an article on what is happening to the Sault program... been crickets over there. That usually means what they are doing is stupid and they know it. Hope I am wrong.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby DLintheTrenches » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:22 am

whatsgoINon wrote:Another thing that doesn't exist, school of choice, you go to the school district that you live in. In WI it's no different, here is your conference, winning record/.500 in conference? you're in.


WI does have SOC now, I see it here in Green Bay. I am a Mountaineer alum, now an assistant coach in Green Bay, and we see top athletes bolting from the inner city schools to the more successful suburb schools often. It is hard to rebuild a program when you bleed top talent away.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby Hambone » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:41 pm

Correct, school of choice does exist in Wisconsin. It is much more restrictive than Michigan, you just can't openly transfer after your sophomore year to another school you have to physically reside in the district after that. I talk to coaches all the time that deal with city kids going to school in the suburbs, its a bad situation.

I hope Gladstone back in the GNC works out. I also hope the Sault moved for geographic reasons and are able to schedule Class B and C schools, if they moved to dumb down their schedule they are going to get called out.

If Wisconsin moves to district play there will be no conferences. It won't be perfect, but will be better than the current set up. Maybe some day the WIAA will realize that the schools north of HWY 8 are important too.....entirely too much time is spent catering to the urban schools.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby GNCrocks » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:50 am

North of Hwy 8 has seen some ducking as well. Rhinlander and now recently Ashland have ducked GNC schools in the last 5-7 years.
Last edited by GNCrocks on Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby GNCrocks » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:53 am

upfootball wrote:Welcome back Gladstone. I like the comments of the new Gladstone AD. So far I am very impressed with him from the outside looking in.

Very sorry to see the Sault go. If its for an opportunity that makes sense. Good for them. If its to dummy down the schedule. You should consider consulting Matt Houle.

It would be nice if someone would write up an article on what is happening to the Sault program... been crickets over there. That usually means what they are doing is stupid and they know it. Hope I am wrong.


Gladstone AD: Right AD, Right Coach in Gladstone now. Maybe they can undo Houle's damage in time.

Soo Leaving GNC: Couch Cough....and you doubted my sources. And yes the Soo dumbed down thier schedule. They still play Marquette & Gladstone but have dropped Escanaba. They have added....ready for this...Rogers City & Lincoln-Alcona

Soo News Paper: The sports team at the Sault News has a lot to be desired. If they are not covering LSSU Hockey then they don't really care. I reached out to them, they said the AD at So told them that the triple road trip to Kingsford, Esky & Gladstone cost them too much. :roll:
Last edited by GNCrocks on Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:00 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby GNCrocks » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:55 am

Hambone wrote:Correct, school of choice does exist in Wisconsin. It is much more restrictive than Michigan, you just can't openly transfer after your sophomore year to another school you have to physically reside in the district after that. I talk to coaches all the time that deal with city kids going to school in the suburbs, its a bad situation.

I hope Gladstone back in the GNC works out. I also hope the Sault moved for geographic reasons and are able to schedule Class B and C schools, if they moved to dumb down their schedule they are going to get called out.

If Wisconsin moves to district play there will be no conferences. It won't be perfect, but will be better than the current set up. Maybe some day the WIAA will realize that the schools north of HWY 8 are important too.....entirely too much time is spent catering to the urban schools.


Soo dropped Escanaba, and added Rogers City & Lincoln-Alcona :roll:
I know they still have Marquette & Gladstone. I am going to assume they dropped Menominee & Kingsford as well. Unsure about that tho.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby Hambone » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:41 am

Rhinelander's nonconference schedule could be better, Tomahawk is close and can be considered a rivalry game, Prescott is a good program but much smaller than the Hodags.

Ashland has played Northwestern for nearly a century, they are old MW conference rivals. Hayward is nearly the same size, both are D3 in Wisconsin. Wautoma is a solid program.

Just because they aren't playing GNC schools doesn't mean they are ducking people.

Face it folks, Soo High football is a joke! If you want to bail on the GNC fine, but if you are playing D8 schools you're program is a joke.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby upfootball » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:54 am

Is there anything online about the Sault adding Rogers City and Alcona.... which I thought were heading to 8 man....
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby scoopnscore » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:01 am

I reached out to them, they said the AD at So told them that the triple road trip to Kingsford, Esky & Gladstone cost them too much. :roll:


I would assume then that they stood to see all three of them at home then this season right? I am sure that the hockey team travels much more than the football team. I think what he was trying to say was why would we travel 3-4 hours to get beat by a team close to our own size when we can travel 1-2 hours to beat a team half to a third of our size? (not to mention that Lincoln Alcona is further than Escanaba for the Soo)

Escanaba - 739
Soo - 717
Kingsford - 542
Menominee - 479
Inland Lakes - 245
Lincoln Alcona - 233
Rogers City - 203
Last edited by scoopnscore on Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby scoopnscore » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:53 pm

Article today by Adam Niemi with the Iron Mountain Daily News:

It’s a phone call Joe Pontbriand never thought he’d make when he took over in July as athletic director at Iron Mountain.


But on Nov. 28, driving along US-141, he made the call. On the other end of the line was Kingsford athletic director Al Unger.

After sitting in a five-hour meeting with other West PAC athletic directors finalizing football schedules for the 2018 season, Pontbriand had the news. With a nine-game conference schedule, there was no room for the 94th annual rivalry football game between Iron Mountain and Kingsford. There wouldn’t come a chance for either team to break the rivalry series deadlock at 45-45-3.

“I called him and I let him know that this is final, the conference decided to go with nine conference games, two of which were crossover. Unfortunately that’s not going to involve Kingsford. That’s a tough call to make, being my first year here,” Pontbriand said. “Being my first year here. I’m not trying to come in and change tradition. That wasn’t my vision. My vision was to maintain nine games with an 11-man program. I know that’s difficult for Al scheduling games and I know it’s difficult for the (Great Northern Conference) schools.”

During the summer, the West PAC accepted Norway, Munising, Lake Linden-Hubbell and Bark River-Harris, which inversely meant schools that scheduled them in 2018 had lost those games. Schedules for schools in the Mid-Peninsula Conference unraveled.

Unger disagreed with Pontbriand’s point that the rivalry game had to end. After all, both schools already had a signed contract to play out the 2018 game on Week 7, Oct. 5. Unger said he thought the merger would have been for 2019.

“Conferences have been realigned and merged always throughout the state. Wisconsin did it from the state level, at the WIAA level and they know how important rivalry games are to communities,” Unger said. “So whenever they’ve created mega-conferences like 12 teams or more, they’ve always allowed a floater date, bye date, for continuing on with that rivalry. Perfect example — Menominee, Marinette — there’s a cross-state rivalry that they were very sensitive to and they let them continue on with it.

“There’s no reason why this couldn’t have happened. There really isn’t. To lock up a nine-game schedule with no regard for playing a rivalry game, to me, it only tells me one thing. Why wouldn’t Iron Mountain and Negaunee not want to advocate for that important game? If they truly wanted this game to continue, they would have advocated for it. It’s my understanding that they didn’t.”

Pontbriand defended his approach to the conference with respect to the rivalry games.

“It was brought up at a meeting, it was talked about,” he said. “The response was to keep inter-conference matchups. Could I have said more and pound my fists on the table? Probably, but we wanted to keep it business professional. Us (Iron Mountain and Negaunee) going in and demanding things doesn’t suit well for the conference.”

‘Something had to give’

Iron Mountain Public Schools superintendent Raphael Rittenhouse, who was familiar with Iron Mountain’s consideration for conference changes that began in 2015 before Pontbriand’s arrival, said the football schedule was the priority after it had fallen apart.

“The driving force behind this was truly building a schedule for next year,” Rittenhouse said. “When I was first approached, there was no question that immediately (Pontbriand) was saying as an athletic director he’s never had to build this many games. It just isn’t done. It’s impossible to accomplish that type of task at this point in the year. Replacing one game is hard enough, redoing your entire schedule is impossible. Always, that was at the forefront of the conversation and the fallout is obviously, when you line up to get in a conference, that’s what happens. And so obviously that’s the driving force.”

Unger, whose Kingsford football team plays in the five-team GNC, is left to fill a five-game hole in the schedule each season. He said the Flivvers’ schedule is completed well before a year in advance.

But Iron Mountain had a tentative nine-game schedule when Pontbriand took over as athletic director. Kingsford was on that schedule. When the West PAC accepted the four schools in July, Pontbriand said he lost two games — Norway and West Iron County. And with September approaching, he still had two games to fill for 2018, a time when most schools have finalized schedules and referee crews lined up. Other Mid-Peninsula Conference teams besides Iron Mountain had worse scheduling woes after the West PAC expanded to 12 teams.

“Ishpeming’s schedule was a little bit different because they were still holding on to some schools that were in the Mid Eastern Conference,” Pontbriand said. “They were playing schools such as Norway. This year, when Norway went to the West PAC, they lost them. They lost a few games because of the merger, the MEC falling apart and some of those schools going into the West PAC. Those schools already had a schedule — the original West PAC had some games. So Ishpeming’s schedule fell apart. They were looking at five, six games at the most. They were talking to us about playing twice, that’s what it was coming to. We had seven games. Westwood had seven games. We had Kingsford, but those schools didn’t, or Menominee, or Escanaba, Marquette, or the Soo. It was just scary times for everybody. You need eight games on your schedule to be able to qualify for the playoffs. It was looking like some schools weren’t going to get there.

“We (MPC) decided as a conference minus Manistique and Gladstone to collectively apply to the West PAC,” Pontbriand added. “We were all competing for the same games on a lot of the same weeks and we already played each other. Ultimately there were really no games to be had. Something had to give.”

Unger said he wanted to see Iron Mountain put more effort into saving the rivalry game. He called the lack of effort ‘insensitive.’

“That’s what it comes down to. If you care about high school sports, you got to look at it big picture,” Unger said. “The decisions we’re making, how is that going to affect other schools we do business with? Either you care, or you don’t care.”

‘I’m not buying it

Unger cited a letter written a year ago by Iron Mountain head football coach Robin Marttila. Unger said it showed an intention on ending the rivalry.

In the 370-word letter dated Dec. 8, 2016, Marttila addressed a letter to the Iron Mountain athletic committee. In the first paragraph Marttila said, “It is my professional opinion that we should drop Kingsford immediately. It is simply what is best for our kids at Iron Mountain.”

Marttila supported his recommendation, saying, “the discrepancy in the enrollment between Iron Mountain and Kingsford is growing too far apart. With this comes a safety issue on the field.”

“I’m not buying it,” Unger said. “We know they wanted to eliminate us off their schedule to begin with.”

Last season, the Mountaineers finished 1-8 with a roster that hovered at about 17 players. Injuries further limited them. Marttila defended his letter against Unger’s point, adding that the need to secure a viable nine-game schedule was a priority.

“Safety in football in general is a big element, as it should be,” Marttila said. “We’ve talked for a number of years now. I understand Kingsford wants to play the game, I get that. But again we have to do what’s best for our kids at Iron Mountain.

“I’ve talked to (Kingsford head football coach) Chris Hofer the last few years about Iron Mountain football and where it’s going. We’ve talked about the discrepancy in enrollments,” Marttila added. “Our athletic directors have talked about that. We talked about the safety of our players. That’s just part of the game of football. I talked to some kids and they’ve looked forward to playing in this game for a long time. I think they understand where it’s at as far as our football schedule. It’s sad to see it go. For the community it’s sad to see it go – the response to it. It’s sad, it’s disappointing. I want people to understand both sides of it. What would also be disappointing is if we had four football games next season. That’d be very disappointing, without a doubt.”

Hofer did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The rivalry’s future

With the enrollment cutoff for playoff-eligible eight-player teams at 203 students, some West PAC schools are close to deciding whether they’ll transition to eight-player programs in the near future.

Pontbriand said if a hypothetical situation arose where some teams dropped out of the West PAC and Iron Mountain had an open date, he would be open to playing Kingsford. Marttila said he was also open to the possibility.

“If it was in the best interest of our kids, we would do that,” Marttila said.

When asked about resuming the rivalry, Unger left it open-ended.

“I guess we’ll wait and see what happens,” he said.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby Yooper at Heart » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:31 pm

So a school of 303 playing a school of 542 is such a big discrepancy you can't play football anymore? If you have a school of 303 and you don't have very many numbers to field a varsity team against a school of 542 then there is something wrong internally in your program. Menominee must be rolling their eyes at that argument. They played a school with over 2,000 kids in it this year, nearly 4 times Menominee's enrollment. Kingsford isn't even double IM's.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby Hambone » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:32 pm

Correct, can't play Kingsford but can play Hancock co-op with an enrollment of 584.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby ftballfan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:59 pm

Iron Mountain is shrinking fast. They have several elementary grades with less than 50 kids. Could they consolidate with Kingsford in the future (10 or so years from now)?
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby HSFB Fan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:43 pm

School of choice.
If Iron Mountain students want to play football, they should transfer to Kingsford before the end of the semester (January sometime I imagine?)
They can sit out a spring sport and put on a Flivver Jersey in the fall.
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Re: U.P. Power is dead

Postby HSFB Fan » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:47 am

What about this....

WESTPAC school 1 has a Varsity Team and a Junior Varsity team.
WESTPAC school 2 has only a Varsity Team.

On the week school 1 and school 2 play each-other, will WESTPAC school 1 go outside of the conference to find a JV or Freshman team to play?
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