A move to ensure basketball parity in the Jayhawk Conference was approved Monday by the college presidents and will split the 19 community colleges with basketball teams into three divisions — West, East and East Division II — beginning with the 2013-14 season.
In the new format, Butler Community College moves from the West to the East while Highland, Fort Scott, Johnson County and Kansas City form the new East Division II.
A movement toward change in divisions began last year when Fort Scott and Kansas City declared their intent to move from NJCAA Division I to Division II, meaning four teams in the East would be Division II.
“For our regional tournament, and our seeding, it left an imbalance of teams from West to East and we started thinking maybe the Division I teams needed to separate,” said Jayhawk commissioner Bryce Roderick. “It’s the same format we’ve used in volleyball and softball.”
The new format puts eight Division I teams in the West (Barton, Cloud, Colby, Dodge City, Garden City, Hutchinson, Pratt and Seward) and seven teams in the East (Allen, Butler, Coffeyville, Cowley, Independence, Labette and Neosho). Because the NJCAA dictates that Northwest Kansas Tech, in Goodland, must be seeded as part of the Region VI Division I tournament, the league can still stick to the old playoff format.
All games played outside of each division will be non-conference.
Hutchinson athletic director Randy Stange will set up the conference schedule for the West, Independence athletic director Tammy Geldenhuys for the East and Johnson County athletic director Carl Heinrich for East Division II.
“I think for the balance of the conference in terms of region play, somebody had to make a move and it made the most sense for us, geographically, to be that team,” Butler men’s coach Mike Bargen said. “We’re disappointed we have to leave the rivalries we have in the West, but we hope those teams will still want to play us in some home and home (series) in the future.”