One down, one to go for the Ohio Heritage Conference.
The OHC on Monday night officially added Greenon — one of two schools extended invitations — when the Greenon Local School District’s board of education voted 5-0 to leave the Central Buckeye Conference in favor of the OHC. Greenon school officials cited travel and school size as the main reasons for the change, a four-year commitment that takes effect with the 2017-18 school year.
The longest bus ride for Greenon to a CBC school is about 90 minutes one way. The longest ride in the OHC is expected to be about 45 minutes. As for school size, Greenon — which has 184 boys and 189 girls according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association website — goes from one of the smallest schools in the CBC to the largest in the OHC.
The OHC also invited West Jefferson to join. The deadline for the district to announce its decision is at its next board meeting on Monday.
With the addition of Greenon, OHC membership is at 11 schools. Madison Plains and Fairbanks join the OHC in the fall of 2016 for all sports but football, which starts in the fall of 2017.
“We’re done. This is all we were after,” OHC commissioner Jim Murray said. “If we get West Jefferson, then we’ll get down to business (with league alignment and scheduling). That will make us 12 and that was our goal.”
As for the CBC, commissioner Mike Ludlow said it officially invited Jonathan Alder to join starting with the 2017-18 school year. Greenon’s departure, along with Tippecanoe and Stebbins to the Greater Western Ohio Conference, leaves the CBC with nine schools. Ludlow said the conference wants to get back to 12 and has “some really active discussions going on with other schools.
“A year ago schools we were talking to had no interest. Now they’re very interested,” added Ludlow, who said he’s had discussions with at least three other schools. “You just never know when one domino falls where the last one will fall.”
Greenon Supt. Brad Silvus said administrators met with the school’s coaches in early January to discuss the situation.
“We talked with them about the positives and negatives. We tried to evaluate the concerns and had a good open dialogue,” Silvus said. “We had board members talking with the public the last few weeks as well, getting feedback. The majority of coaches are definitely on board and excited about the challenge.”
The largest school in the CBC Mad River Division (where Greenon resides) is Graham with 251 boys and 217 girls. Greenon is the second smallest to Northwestern’s 165 boys and 167 girls.
In the OHC, Greenon has the most boys (Northeastern is second with 173) and the most girls (Greeneview is second with 166).
“It was a very good choice for us,” Silvus said.
Silvus added Greenon wants to keep scheduling CBC schools, especially those in Clark County. That won’t be a problem, Ludlow said.
“Greenon has been an outstanding conference member,” Ludlow said. “You have to respect that each school has to do what they feel is in their best interest. As long as everybody is honest about it, life goes on. It’s not in anyone’s best interest to hold a grudge. I don’t think it’s going to damage anyone’s relations in any way. It’s a part of conference life in this day and age.”
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