Six private schools announced plans Wednesday to leave the newly expanded Tri-Metro Conference because of their concern about the size discrepancy between schools.

Blake, Breck, Minnehaha Academy, Mounds Park Academy, Providence Academy and St. Paul Academy will leave the conference at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

The Tri-Metro ballooned to 16 teams last week when the Minnesota State High School League added Columbia Heights, Fridley and Holy Angels. Those three schools have enrollments in the 700 to 750 range, putting them among the largest in the conference.

"Our school evaluated the dynamics of the conference, with the number of schools in the league and the discrepancy in size between many of the schools, and we felt it was best to withdraw from the Tri-Metro," said Kurt Jaeger, Providence Academy athletic director. "When you looked at the top six schools in the league, they average about 640 students. The bottom 10 was about 340."

Jaeger said scheduling was another key issue. "With 16 schools in the conference, you have a hard time even having a single round of play among the schools in some sports," he said. "Is it really a conference then?"

Jaeger said that, for the near future at least, Providence Academy will maintain an independent schedule. He added that he hadn't heard of any plans by the others that are leaving to form a new league.