ANDERSON, Mo. -- High school principals from the Big 8 voted Tuesday to add McDonald County to the Conference.
McDonald County has been without a conference since the Southwest Conference dissolved in 2007.
"We are excited to be a part of the Big 8, not just for our athletes but also for our entire student body," said McDonald County High School Principal Kim Harrell. "Besides athletics, our students will also get the chance to compete in conference activities such as art, speech & debate, and academic bowl. That is something the Southwest Conference did not offer."
Since the break-up of the Southwest Conference, McDonald County and Nevada have petitioned the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) to be placed into the Big 8. Following the most recent appeal, MSHSAA asked that the Big 8 Conference evaluate each school separately for inclusion into the Conference.
"We are happy to welcome McDonald County into the Big 8," said Conference President and Carl Junction High School Principal David Pyle. "McDonald County is a good fit for the Big 8. They border two of our current districts and the majority of our schools already compete with them in a variety of sports and activities."
The Big 8 Conference history dates back to 1928 when the Southwest Activities Association (also known as the Big 10) was formed with charter members Aurora, Carthage, Joplin, Lamar, Monett, Mt. Vernon, Neosho, Nevada, Springfield, and Webb City. Over the years, the conference has included up to 13 area schools and has had a variety of names. The current Big 8 conference has been unchanged since 1982 and includes Aurora, Carl Junction, Cassville, East Newton, Lamar, Monett, Mt. Vernon, and Seneca.
McDonald County will become a voting member of the Big 8 in July 2013 and will compete in non-athletic events in the 2013-2014 school year. In July 2014 they will become full competitive members of the Big 8 Conference.
Big 8 Conference principals, superintendents, and athletic directors meet regularly to plan and collaborate on student achievement in the classroom and in athletics. The Conference constitution provides that the principals are the voting body of the organization.