Half of the 20 current schools that make up the Greater Western Ohio Conference announced their intention to leave and start their own affiliation during Wednesday’s annual winter meeting of school superintendents, principals and athletic directors at the Huber Heights Athletic Foundation.
Here’s five things to know about that:
1. Who’s leaving? The entire GWOC American Conference, with the exception of Trotwood-Madison. That consists of American North Division members Butler, Greenville, Piqua, Sidney, Tippecanoe and Troy. The American South Division teams leaving are Fairborn, Stebbins, West Carrollton and Xenia.
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2. Who’s left? The entire GWOC National Conference. That consists of Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairmont, Springfield and Wayne in the National East and Lebanon, Miamisburg, Northmont and Springboro in the National West.
3. What happens to Trotwood? The Rams have been assured they would be welcomed into the remaining GWOC National Conference. If the Rams are admitted to the National West, both remaining divisions would consist of five teams each.
4. When will it happen? Anything of this magnitude – such as leaving, whether it’s one or multiple schools – must be addressed with formal documentation of intent to leave by April 1. According to GWOC bylaws, there is a two-year wait until schools can leave after notification.
However, there could be a negotiation between administrators and GWOC commissioner Eric Spahr for an earlier exit. That likely would depend on minimal disruption of future scheduling for all sports. The soonest a mass exit could happen is the end of this school year. If the two-year exit period is fulfilled, teams would stay in place through the 2019-20 school year.
5. Why split? Many reasons that apparently have been brewing for years. The discrepancy in school size among members continues to be an issue. Divisional status for schools can change depending on the girls or boys sport. The National Conference is made up of larger Division I programs and the American Conference consists of Divisions II and III teams.
Divisional status isn’t an issue until teams play crossover games. That is a necessity in every sport and was a key factor in expanding to 20 teams for its convenience in scheduling.
The main factor for leaving is the unforeseen fallout of Trotwood-Madison’s continued success in the most high-profile sports: football and boys basketball.
Trotwood has played in eight consecutive Division II or III football state semifinals and completed a 15-0 season by winning a D-III state championship at Canton this past December. Its other state title was by the 15-0 team in 2011 (D-II). Trotwood has played for six state football titles since 2010, including a run of four straight through 2013.
Trotwood has won nine of the last 10 GWOC divisional football titles (Butler won in 2015) and owns a 42-2 record in conference play since the 2008 season.
Trotwood also has played in two boys state basketball final fours since 2014 and was the D-II state runner-up last season. Trotwood has won every GWOC divisional boys basketball title except two (Greenville in 2015 and Troy in ’12) since the 2005-06 season and is a combined 118-8 in conference play during that time. The Rams already have secured this season’s divisional title.
However, other than girls basketball and track and field, Trotwood is no contending GWOC factor in any other sport and hasn’t been.