By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Madison and some other area schools are discussing the idea of creating a new athletic conference.
Groveport Madison Schools Athletic Director Steve Petros said a group of schools – possibly including Groveport Madison, Canal Winchester, and Reynoldsburg as well as several other schools located south and east of I-270 – met to discuss the idea in November.
“We are in the information gathering stage,” said Petros. “We are interested because of the constant realigning of the Ohio Capital Conference (OCC). We love the OCC and believe it is a great conference. However, on the issue of realignment, single high school districts don’t have the same say as multi- high school districts. Alignment is the most important decision we make as a conference.”
Petros said districts with multiple high schools have more votes when it comes to the OCC’s divisional alignments, which occur frequently.
“Single high school districts like ours have very little say in the most important vote we take,” said Petros. “If districts vote as a block, then two superintendents control 25 percent of the league and five superintendents control 50 percent.”
Petros noted the schools that are interested in possibly forming a new conference are all single high school districts.
“For the most part, the interested schools are family friendly in terms of travel,” said Petros. “It is a lot easier to travel east and southeast than going up north.”
Petros said the schools discussing the new league have demographic and socio-economic similarities. He added that the proposed new league would provide stability, an equal voice, competitiveness, local rivalries, and easier transportation.
“It would be a great fit for us,” said Petros.
Guidelines that emerged from the meeting discussions about the proposed new league, according to Petros, include that the league must have at least eight schools and no more than 12 and all schools must make a 10 year commitment.
Petros said Groveport Madison would have to notify the OCC by June 30 of its intentions to leave that conference if it decides to go. He added that he needs a decision by the Groveport Madison Board of Education by the end of February to pursue the possible organization of the new league.
Petros said the earliest a new league could start would be fall of 2020 and that no name has been discussed yet for the possible new conference.
“Again, we are pretty far from making a decision on this,” said Petros.
Reynoldsburg Schools Athletic Director Jacob Perkins said nothing is imminent.
“At this point we are just in the listening stage with regards to the idea of a potential new league,” said Perkins. “We are founding and proud members of the OCC, but are also open to anything that’s in the best interest of our kids and community.”
Canal Winchester Athletic Director Patrick Durbin could not be reached for comment.
The OCC began with eight teams in 1968 and has since grown to 32 teams located throughout central Ohio.
In its more than a century of athletic competition, the Groveport Madison Cruisers have competed in three leagues: the Franklin County League from the early 1900s to the 1957-58 season; the Mid-Eight League from 1958-59 to 1973-74; and the OCC from 1974-75 to the present.