In a unanimous decision, the Riverdale School Distric Board of Education approved moving the Riverdale football program to the Ridge and Valley conference, beginning in the 2016 season.
“This ensures that we will be able to continue to have a football team,” district administrator Bryce Bird. “We will be more in line of competition in the Ridge and Valley Conference.”
The move, pending WIAA approval, will make Riverdale the fourth largest school in the conference based on enrollment. The Ridge and Valley conference currently hosts two co-op teams with a third under discussion. Members of the Ridge and Valley football conference include De Soto, Ithaca, Kickapoo/La Farge, North Crawford, Wauzeka/Seneca, Weston and Wonewoc–Center, which joined the league for football only this fall. The Wovles compete in the Scenic Bluffs Conference for all other sports.
In the current Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League, Riverdale has had difficulty in fielding a team with sufficient numbers, according to Bird, who said that students themselves have concerns about safety, not wanting to risk being played in varsity during their freshman and sophomore years. He believes the change will encourage greater participation in the program.
The Chieftains are currently 1–7 this season and 0–6 in the Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League. Riverdale has been part of the SWAL, along with Boscobel, Cuba City, Darlington, Fennimore, Iowa–Grant, Mineral Point and Southwestern since it was formed 2005. They were a part of the seven-team SWAL I from 1987–2004.