In the fall of 2019, the Badger Conference principals and athletic directors announced a conference realignment plan for all sports except football that would go into effect in the 2021-22 school year.
That school year has arrived and so has the realignment.
The conference has moved to an East/West configuration, including North and South divisions in each conference.
The Badger West Conference:
Northwest Division – Baraboo, Portage, Reedsburg, Sauk Prairie.
Southwest Division – Madison Edgewood, Mount Horeb, Monroe, Oregon.
The Badger East Conference:
Northeast Division – Beaver Dam, DeForest, Watertown, Waunakee.
Southeast Division – Fort Atkinson, Milton, Monona Grove, Stoughton.
Once Watertown and Beaver Dam were moved into the Badger Conference, the principals had voted to re-examine the conference alignment after two years.
The conference principals in the fall of 2018 directed the athletic directors to review the alignment, taking into account geographic locations, the distance each school travels, school size and competitive balance.
In spring 2019, the athletic directors proposed an East/West Division format for consideration. That proposal was approved by the principals at their April, 2019, meeting.
The rationale behind the move was that the East/West alignment created a more equitable distribution of total miles traveled throughout the conference. Reduced travel on school nights was a priority to minimize time lost from class to maximize study time for student-athletes.
In addition, the divisional component created more “close” contests, also decreasing travel and minimizing time missed from class.
When the decision was made, the East/West divisions were seen as bettering aligning schools, according to enrollment with the East containing seven of the eight “large” schools and the West containing seven of the eight “small” schools. Oregon and Fort Atkinson were the exceptions.
New terminology to know, according to a release from the Badger Conference provided by Sauk Prairie activities director Josh Boyer.
Neighboring Division is the other division within a conference. For instance, the Northwest and Southwest.
Lateral Division is the matching division in the other conference. For instance, the Northwest and Northeast.
Diagonal Division is the opposite division in the other conference. For instance, the Northwest and Southeast. They would play each other in a crossover.
Quads are events involving just one division. For example, the Northeast cross country quad is scheduled for Waunakee in 2021. Quads will rotate among the division schools.
Championship series games will feature divisional teams within each conference playing each other based on division standings. For instance, Northeast No. 1 vs. Southeast No. 1.
Crossover/Challenge games will feature teams competing against the other conference and will be paired based on conference standings.
The division format also was designed to create unique events and experiences for the student-athletes through the divisional quads and expansion of crossover events, according to the release.
This realignment is for all sports except football.
This fall, the football-only conferences involving Badger Conference schools are:
The Badger Large Conference: Beaver Dam, DeForest, Milton, Oregon, Watertown and Waunakee, plus Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker.
The Badger Small Conference: Baraboo, Fort Atkinson, Monona Grove, Mount Horeb/Barneveld, Portage, Reedsburg, Sauk Prairie and Stoughton.