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Decision Number
Petition of Woodward Academy for membership into the West Central Activities Conference or the Heart of Iowa Conference
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Woodward Academy is a member of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. For the 2010-11 school year, Woodward Academy offers its students the opportunity to participate in junior varsity baseball and varsity football, cross country, basketball, and track and field. Woodward-Granger Community School District, which is a member of the West Central Activities Conference (WCAC), is the district in which Woodward Academy exists. Woodward-Granger shares many of its athletic facilities with Woodward Academy, and has some oversight responsibilities for the academic offerings at Woodward Academy.

Because it offers five sports directly now, Woodward Academy made the decision to seek membership into an activities conference. The advantages of being in such a conference include stability of scheduling, eligibility for conference championships, and individual student eligibility for all-conference honors and recognition.

Woodward Academy has been denied membership by both the Heart of Iowa (HOI) and the WCAC. All members of the WCAC and the HOI were invited to participate in a meeting to mediate the conference membership requested. On June 29, 2010, the mediation team unanimously recommended to this agency that Woodward Academy be placed in the WCAC, commencing with the 2011-2012 school year. In its written report, the mediation team cited similarity in enrollment, geographic considerations and current competition between member schools as the rationale for its recommendation. It is important to note that the hearing in this matter was neither contentious nor adversarial. The parties represented all agree that Woodward Academy must be allowed into membership into an activities conference, and they agree that the only logical conference choices are the HOI or the WCAC.

We agree with the conclusion of the mediation team that the WCAC is the more appropriate conference for Woodward Academy. While the enrollment sizes of the HOI schools are more comparable to that of Woodward Academy (but only when taking into consideration male students only), the difference is negligible. The athletic program offered by Woodward Academy is more compatible with the overall programs of the smaller WCAC schools. We also find it compelling that the facility sharing and academic sharing between Woodward Academy and the Woodward Granger Community School District tip the balance toward membership of Woodward Academy to the WCAC.