They didn’t have a lot of choices.
Those remaining schools — Spring Lake, Fruitport, Fremont, Ludington and Orchard View — couldn’t simply operate as a five-team league.
They could choose to split up and go their separate ways in hopes that some of them could be absorbed into other existing leagues — but, in all likelihood, at least a few would have been left out in the cold and forced to operate as an independent.
Spring Lake and Fruitport applied for inclusion in the Ottawa-Kent (O-K) Conference, but their inclusion in that league wasn’t a guarantee.
The Lakes Eight made inquiries to members of the West Michigan Conference, which includes similar-size schools such as Whitehall, Montague and Oakridge. But that conference was happy with the status quo.
In the end, the Lakes Eight made what we consider the best possible move in inviting tiny Muskegon Catholic Central to join the league, and the Crusaders accepted.
Starting in the 2014-15 school year, Muskegon Catholic Central will join what was the Lakes Eight (a new name will be chosen at a later date).
On the surface, it’s a bit head scratching for a high school with an enrollment of less than 200 students to join a league that includes Fruitport, which boasts nearly 1,000 students. But dig deep and you’ll see that this move actually makes sense.
MCC offers almost every sport that Spring Lake and Fruitport offer. They lack a wrestling team, as well as lacrosse — but the Crusaders do have a swim team, which Fruitport (and most of the other Lakes Eight schools) do not.
Football is a big deal at MCC, and the Crusaders nearly beat Fruitport — the Lakes Eight champion — last fall.
The Crusaders also feature solid soccer and basketball programs.
The other obvious plus is travel. Instead of making the long haul up to Tri-County or Grant, the Lakes Eight schools, league members will instead head to Muskegon, which will greatly ease their travel budget.
Filling out football schedules with only six league teams may be a challenge, but other than that, this looks like a win-win situation for both Muskegon Catholic and the remaining members of the Lakes Eight.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to email@example.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.