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.
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.
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.
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 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.