The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 5:20 pm

SAC makes changes to schedule, adds divisions

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

The Summit Athletic Conference has announced changes to the football schedule that will introduce two divisions and cut the number of regular-season conference games from nine to seven, allowing for two nonconference games each season. 

The new schedule format will be put in place for the 2023 football season. 

According to a release from the SAC, the changes were approved after unanimous votes by the SAC athletic directors and football coaches. 

Starting in 2023, the first two weeks of each football season will be set aside for nonconference opponents. SAC schools have not scheduled nonconference games in the regular season since Homestead and Carroll joined the league in 2015. 

The SAC will also be split into two divisions of five teams each: Division A will include Bishop Dwenger, Carroll, Homestead, Northrop and Snider, and Division B will include Bishop Luers, Concordia, North Side, South Side and Wayne.  

Each team will play four games against the other teams in its division and three cross-divisional games. Weeks 3 and 9 will be set aside for cross-divisional games, and there will be one cross-divisional game each in Weeks 4-8. As in the current schedule, Week 7 will be rivalry week. 

The team with the best conference record at the end of the regular season will be the SAC champion. 

“These changes give teams two games at beginning of the season to iron out deficiencies in preparation for conference play and allows more meaningful games, experiencing quality out of conference opponents in preparation for the IHSAA Tournament,” SAC Commissioner Adam Swinford was quoted as saying in the SAC release. “We believe this new format will provide a better experience for our student athletes to learn and excel at their sport while enjoying the experience and competitiveness of playing in the Summit Athletic Conference.”

According to the release, the divisions were selected based on "school size, roster size and SAC success." According to the latest IHSAA enrollment figures, Carroll and Homestead (both 6A schools) are the largest-enrollment schools in the SAC, followed by Northrop and Snider (both 5A). Of the two remaining 5A schools, North Side has a larger enrollment than Bishop Dwenger (1,550 at North Side compared to 1,015), but the Saints have finished ahead of North Side in the SAC standings every season since 2013.

Bishop Dwenger, which is in Class 5A due to the success factor, also has a smaller total enrollment than Class 4A Wayne and South Side. Concordia and Bishop Luers are by far the smallest schools in enrollment in the conference.

New SAC Football Divisions

Division A - Bishop Dwenger, Carroll, Homestead, Northrop, Snider

Division B - Bishop Luers, Concordia, North Side, South Side, Wayne  

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