Hollister wil leave Central Ozark Conference

Published: Apr. 8, 2016 at 2:46 PM CDT
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Hollister will leave the Central Ozark Conference in time for the 2018-19 school year, according to athletic director John Burgi.

"We decided it'd be best for our student athletes to compete against schools that are more our size," Burgi said. "We were playing some schools that were twice our size."

Burgi says they don't have any plans to join another league, and could remain independent once they leave the COC.

He also said there's a chance the Missouri State High School Sports Activities Association will change the high school football schedule as we know it and replace conferences with eight-team districts based on size. Schools would play all seven of their district opponents in the regular season.

"I'm not saying it's ready to be voted on or anything, but there are supporters of creating eight-team conferences in football," he said. "That would be something we'd really enjoy having, if it happens."

These next few years could be tumultuous for the COC. Carl Junction will join the large division in 2016-17, and the conference will vote on whether to accept Joplin later this month. Buffalo also announced they will leave the COC Small. Burgi predicts the changes wouldn't end there.

"I know there's several other schools that are considering a similar thing as us in the smaller COC," Burgi said. "I think we were just the ones that moved first. We might see two or three other ones move in the future."

Hollister is the second smallest school in the COC Small. The football team went winless in the league this season, while Bolivar extended their COC Small title streak to 13 seasons.

"They're working with 850 students and we're working with 450," Burgi said. "That's a big difference. We're looking for something more comparable in size."

Despite the uncertain future schedule for Tiger teams, there's still a lot to be excited about. The team is installing a new turf field for football, which Burgi says will be ready in a matter of weeks, and adding an indoor hitting facility for baseball and softball.