The Central Buckeye Conference will soon have 12 members again after a rocky three-year period in which three schools left.
London and North Union high schools will join the CBC in an upcoming season, though the exact year is still being determined. The school boards of both districts approved the moves earlier this week.
London will join the CBC’s Kenton Trail Division, which includes Bellefontaine, Jonathan Alder, Kenton Ridge, Shawnee, and Tecumseh. North Union will be in the Mad River Division with Benjamin Logan, Graham, Indian Lake, Northwestern and Urbana.
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“We’re very excited to have these two come to our league,” CBC Commissioner Mike Ludlow said. “They’re a good match as far as school size and the makeup of the communities, and they’re close to other conference schools.”
The additions end a period of adjustment for the conference. Tippecanoe and Stebbins announced in late 2014 they were leaving the CBC for the Greater Western Ohio Conference, which forced Ludlow and the league to try to find new members. After the conference invited Alder to join in early 2016, Greenon announced it was leaving the CBC for the OHC.
“It’s a relief to be back to 12,” Ludlow said. “In football, everyone had to have three crossover games because you only had four games in your division. Now we’re back down to two crossover games. It’s good for other sports, too, because we don’t have to hunt for as many nonconference games now.”
London is the latest high school in Madison County to join a Springfield-area conference. Alder officially joined the CBC earlier this month, while West Jefferson and Madison-Plains joined the Ohio Heritage Conference in all sports but football last year.
North Union is in northern Union County, about 15 miles southwest of Marion. Its closest CBC neighbor is Ben Logan, which is about 22 miles away.
“North Union does expand the area of the conference but it’s not too much difference from when Tipp and Stebbins were here,” Ludlow said. “Bellefontaine to Stebbins was a long drive. There will be some long drives with this, but we’ll work with the schedules to try not to have long drives on weeknights. It’s pretty comparable in area to what a lot of other conferences cover, too.”
Ludlow said he doesn’t expect any changes to the conference’s membership in the near future.
“There’s no alignment that lasts forever, but we’re pleased with our schools now and I think it should last awhile,” Ludlow said.
London is currently in the Mid-State League, and North Union is a member of the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference.
Alder was previously in the MOAC and will be competing in the CBC for the first time when fall sports start in a month. Ludlow said other conference schools are excited for the addition, especially since Alder is close to a popular Plain City restaurant.
“You can eat at Der Dutchman before heading to Alder,” Ludlow said. “That’s a good deal.”