The Ottawa-Kent Conference is an athletic league located in West Michigan. It has member schools from Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, and Ottawa Counties. It has 48 member schools that partake in athletics. According to the MHSAA they have the main offices located at Grandville High School. The current commissioner is Jim Haskins. Dave Bos is an assistant commissioner of the conference.
- 1 Members
- 2 Classifications
- 3 Current Alignment
- 4 2008-2012 Alignment
- 5 Past realignments
- 6 Notable alumni
- 7 State championships
- 8 Membership Timeline
- 9 External links
- 10 References
|Cedar Springs||Red Hawks||Public||A||936||Kent||1984||White|
|East Grand Rapids||Pioneers||Public||A||979||Kent||1970||Gold|
|Forest Hills Central||Rangers||Public||A||1316||Kent||1960||White|
|Forest Hills Eastern||Hawks||Public||B||798||Kent||2005||Gold|
|Forest Hills Northern||Huskies||Public||A||1100||Kent||1972||White|
|Grand Rapids Catholic Central||Cougars||Private||B||644||Kent||2008||Blue|
|Grand Rapids Christian||Eagles||Private||A||912||Kent||2008||Gold|
|Grand Rapids Northpointe Christian||Mustang||Private||C||330||Kent||2012||Silver|
|Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills||Bengals||Public||A||1270||Kent||2008||White|
|Grand Rapids Union||Red Hawks||Public||A||1798||Kent||2008||Black|
|Grand Rapids West Catholic||Falcons||Private||B||475||Kent||2008||Blue|
|Holland West Ottawa||Panthers||Public||A||2286||Ottawa||1965||Red|
|Hudsonville Unity Christian||Crusaders||Private||B||629||Ottawa||1995||Green|
|Muskegon Mona Shores||Sailors||Public||A||1240||Muskegon||1985||Black|
- Note: The class and population size are from the 2016-17 MHSAA listings. The # next to the year admitted is for founding members.
As of the 2006-07 school year the conference has put a requirement in writing for which sports they want all schools to have a varsity level program in. Those include Baseball, Basketball (boys & girls), Football, Softball (girls), Track & Field (boys & girls), Volleyball (girls), and Wrestling
They also listed a second group of sports which they want a minimal of two more sports in varsity level. Those include Bowling (boys & girls), Competitive Cheer (girls), Cross Country (boys & girls), Golf (boys & girls), Gymnastics (girls), Ice Hockey, Soccer (boys & girls), Swimming (boys & girls), Tennis (boys & girls), and Water Polo (boys & girls)
Furthermore, for expansion purposes they must have a JV program in the mandatory programs along with adding freshman programs. This has been a change when in 2004 they wanted freshman programs in all of the required programs instead they want to see improvement in the schools to have them form one when participation is high enough to warrant it.
Sports not listed as ones they will offer varsity status for include Lacrosse (boys & girls) and Skiing (boys & girls).
This new alignment will be enacted starting in the 2016-2017 school year. The OK Bronze division was abolished and alignments were adjusted. Hastings left for the Interstate-8 Conference, Fruitport and Spring Lake were added.
Forest Hills Central
Forest Hills Northern
East Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Christian
Forest Hills Eastern
This alignment was enacted starting in the 2008-09 school year after the Grand Rapids City League was officially absorbed into the conference. This alignment continued until the conclusion of the 2011-2012 school year when another major re-alignment occurred.
- East Kentwood
- Grand Haven
- West Ottawa
- Forest Hills Central
- Grand Rapids Union
- Kenowa Hills
- Muskegon Mona Shores
- Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
- East Grand Rapids
- Grand Rapids Creston
- Grand Rapids Christian
- Forest Hills Eastern
- Grand Rapids Catholic Central
- Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills
- Thornapple Kellogg
- South Christian
- Cedar Springs
- Comstock Park
- Forest Hills Northern
- West Catholic
- Byron Center
- Holland Christian
- Hudsonville Unity Christian
- Wyoming Park
- Wyoming Rogers
- Zeeland East
- Zeeland West
- Northpointe Christian
- Calvin Christian
- Godwin Heights
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Every two years, the conference realigns itself due to changes in school sizes as some school districts increase at a large rate while others may stay constant or decline. Along with the changes in school populations, they also hear requests to join the conference. The process is a lengthy one and requires a 75% majority of the member schools to allow any new school in the conference. The Grand Rapids City League will be joining the conference for the 2008–2009 season.[needs update] According to the Grand Rapids Press, the principals passed the league with a 43 to 1 vote. The future alignment for the expansion is still on the table but the one currently being discussed will have seven divisions (one more than present) and has been passed by the committee of athletic directors 34 to 10. It is in line with what the conference has done in the past. The executive board is made up of at least one principal from each division would have to pass the alignment on April 18. After that the Executive Council made up all of the principals will ratify it by May 9. The thought process is only do minor alignment change in two years followed by a possible major realignment in fours depending on different factors. The difference would be actual schools added to the conference or change in the number of divisions versus just flip flopping schools around.
According to the GR Press, seven schools voted no for several different reasons. Two schools, Lowell and Zeeland West did not show up for the meeting and as such no votes were given to them. The other schools include Lee, East Kentwood, Hudsonville, Jenison, and Middleville. The reasons given by the press for their no votes were because of concerns about the possibility that the four Grand Rapids Public Schools might drop their athletic programs, because of the enrollment differential in some divisions and because of the size of some of the divisions. According to past policies of the those schools and previous article quotes from those schools it is assumed what schools felt which way. For Jenison, Hudsonville, and Lee it was the enrollment differences along with the size of their division. East Kentwood and probably Middleville were upset with the Athletic Director of the Grand Rapids Public Schools discussing saving money by eliminating two high school ADs after the first two votes of the conference to let them into the conference.
All seven City League schools officially became full members of the OK Conference beginning with the 2008–09 school year.
The Swimming Conferences were realigned for the 2011–2012 school year and consist of only four levels.
Notable Alumni who have participated athletically in the OK Conference
- Robert Jackson, former NFL Player
- Ray Bentley, former NFL Player
- Mike Dumas, former NFL Player
- Paul Grasmanis, former NFL Player
- Kevin Haverdink, former NFL Player
- Gary Hogeboom, former NFL Player
- Sasha Hupman, former NBA Player
- Mike Knuble, NHL Player
- Mitch Lyons, former NFL Player
- Andre Metzger,Two-Time NCAA Wrestling Champion, Two-Time World Runner-up
- Jay Riemersma, former NFL Player
- Steve Scheffler, former NBA Player
- Joel Smeenge, former NFL Player
- Joe Staley, Current NFL player
- Matt Steigenga, former NBA Player
- John Vander Wal, former MLB Player
- Loy Vaught, former NBA Player
- Dathan Ritzenhein, Two Time Olympian in Track and Field
- Brian Diemer, Bronze Medalist - 1984 Olympics in Track and Field, three time Olympian
- Luke Jensen, Former professional tennis player who reached a #6 world ranking in doubles.
- Ron Essink, Former NFL Player Drafted 1980 - Grand Valley wrestling All American.
- Ryan McDonald, Former NFL Player - All American and Rose Bowl starter with University of Illinois
- Justin Abdelkader, an ice hockey forward for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.
Schools that have won MHSAA (unless otherwise noted) state championships while being members of OK Conference.
- Note: The Comstock Park Championship was determined by Individual Format versus the Team Duel Format.
- Note: Water polo is not recognized by the MHSAA but the OK Conference allows it full varsity status. The teams compete for the Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) State Championship.
Ottawa Kent OK-Blue OK-Red OK-Red Metro/Lakeshore OK-White OK-Gold OK-Silver OK-Black OK-Green OK-Bronze
- "OK Conference realignment update: Jenison, Wyoming on the move - MLive.com". highschoolsports.mlive.com. Retrieved 2015-10-30.