Here are a few of the responses about our article about THE HIGH COST OF STAYING IN THE NCC
Steve Fisher As you may remember I was the Supt at New Castle when we left the NCC due to the very reasons you have provided. Also think of all the other sports who travel as well. Way to much time on the road and too costly for parents and fans to make the trip. I’m sorry but it’s not worth the cost and the time on the road. We had two schools who refused to play us or even speak to us. Things worked out great for the Trojans as the HHC is a very competitive conference in athletics and academics. The farthest NC travels now is 44 miles one way to a conference school. I know we caught hell from a few but we did what was best for our student athletes and our fans. Would do it all over again. Best of luck.
Brandon Ecker to Steve Fisher and I was your right hand man. I stand by our decision as a school to make the move for the students and parents that were still making the trips. People tend to forget that when they enjoyed the 2 hour drives free and reduced lunch wasn’t near 65-70%, people had good, local jobs, and the NCC was at its height. The location and competition with geographic rivals that were already on the schedule made the move that much easier. It was never anything personal or in regards to any of the schools in the NCC, just what was right for New Castle.
On a side note, I have seen several people from NC proudly wear their HHC champions shirts in girls soccer, volleyball, and boys basketball since those days. Though I’m at a nearby rival I’m glad to see NC find its home in the HHC
Excellent job, Troy, with your analysis of the costs of travel. You and I are in complete agreement on this issue. You and I have also broadcast hundreds of Richmond games involving NCC opponents and have seen the changes first-hand.
Proponents of Richmond’s membership into the NCC constantly refer to the history, tradition, and respect of the conference. I’ll admit that those factors have a small amount merit, but the amount of that merit decreases each year. If you think about it and look at the more traditional NCC schools, most Richmond fans would likely say the two biggest Red Devil rivalries through the years were New Castle and Muncie Central. I don’t believe it is coincidence that those were the two closest conference opponents. Both of those gyms are within an hour’s drive from Richmond. Many fans were willing to make that drive, which created a more intense and fun atmosphere in those gyms.
In the NCC now, Richmond has five opponents that are all at least a hundred miles away. No other team has a single opponent that far (except, of course, when they come to Richmond). Very few fans are willing to make that drive. Even the parents of participating athletes struggle to get to those cities by kickoff or tipoff time if they work until 5 o’clock in Richmond. The atmosphere at many of those games is comparable to a visitation at a funeral home.
To say that the conference has the same respect it once did is ludicrous. The respect that the NCC once had now belongs to those large central Indiana schools that dominate all other opponents. With the history and tradition elements being greatly reduced with the loss of New Castle and the addition of two Lafayette schools that have absolutely no history of competition with Richmond, and with the respect of the conference dwindling, I see no other benefit of Richmond staying in the NCC.
Unfortunately, with Richmond’s geographic location, there are only two other conference options. The Hoosier Hills Conference includes rival New Castle along with Greenfield, Mount Vernon, and New Palestine. The other option – and the one I would push for Richmond to consider – is the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference. It includes rival Connersville, East Central, Batesville, and Franklin County. I have talked to the AD’s of many of those schools. Most would welcome Richmond. A couple would not. And, obviously, Richmond can’t join any other conference just because it wants to. It would take some realignment or addition of other schools.
There are no easy solutions, but Richmond’s long-term membership in the NCC going forward is, in my opinion, no longer justifiable.
Steve M Priest I’m a Lafayette Jeff grad and I hated driving to Richmond and New Castle, it seems the games were always late in the season, so we had the Weather and the Indy five o’clock traffic to deal with, not to mention the long drive. Don’t really want to see Richmond leave the conference, but maybe it is time for them to go (and it’s only because of travel)
I personally did not support the addition of McCutcheon and Harrison for this reason, and the impact it had on New Castle as well. What has not been mentioned is that the NCC is a premier conference with decades of respect and championships as well as more of the largest gyms than any other conference in the United States.
There is a price to be part of that, and one of the answers is to have conference games at neutral sites or to take more than one sport on a bus to a competition. Additionally, Richmond previously scheduled a Lafayette/Logansport doubleheader weekend to reduce the number of trips. One of the real problems that is not being addressed is attendance. When arenas in Richmond and even Marion and Lafayette are half full or less, we need to rethink how the product is being showcased. Richmond is a great asset to the NCC brand, and vice versa.
As much as I hate the idea of old rivals breaking up, it just makes too much sense. The days of 7000 fans for a night is gone, but those long bus rides still remain the same. I remember one night back in my day, we had a football game at Richmond that started late because of lightning. We didn’t get back to Marion until well after 1AM. Realistically, the NCC could and probably should divide up with the Lafayette schools going one way, Richmond probably joining up with Pendleton and New Pal, and Marion and Kokomo trying to form something new altogether maybe.
That is why new castle left the NCC cost of travel .. students come first Richmond had it’s chance they voted all 3 Lafayette schools in….new castle was the lone one who voted against them.. then we was asked to join HCC. We voted yes ..rest of NCC school took us of the schedule except football unless they wanted to play us..we was treated bad in some ways still are.. the fans don’t show up .. but I’d say the NCC isn’t like it used to be….talent went down in the NCC fans support.