Proposed Conference Shift Marks Pittsford’s Dedication to 11-Man Football

by Josh Colletta

According to the Hillsdale Daily News, Pittsford is hoping to make the switch to the Tri-County Conference in three sports: football, bowling, and wrestling.

Parents, students and school officials met at an informational meeting last Wednesday night to determine the future of the 11-man football program, which faces severe challenges, including decreasing enrollment — both at Pittsford and the several schools in the district’s current conference, the Southern Central Athletic Association.

The drop in students, along with associated funding cuts, has led to a corresponding transition across many rural schools in Michigan to 8-man football programs, leaving Pittsford behind as one of the few smaller schools in the region to continue fielding an 11-man team.

Also complicating matters is the M.H.S.A.A.’s new point-based playoff formula, which uses strength of schedule to determine postseason rankings, making Pittsford a less desirable opponent for larger districts.

Athletic Director Mike Burger says the district had approached two other districts in Hillsdale County to seek a co-op for the 11-man program, but both of those districts rejected the idea. He offered to inquire about the possibility again if the Pittsford community thought it was a good idea, but he said he didn’t believe either of the other districts would change their minds.

The T.C.C. is made up of teams in Monroe and Lenawee Counties, and they’ve been looking for another football program to balance out their own scheduling issues across the league. Pittsford’s addition would help not only with scheduling, but with geographical logistics, as well.

Burger says that T.C.C. membership will be on a two-year trial basis if Pittsford is accepted, and the district will evaluate their options if and when the situation calls for it.

As for all other sports programs, Pittsford will remain in the S.C.A.A.

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