The five schools planning to secede from the South Central Ohio League are moving ahead with those preparations, Hillsboro Superintendent Jim Smith said Tuesday.
Smith hosted a meeting last week with representatives from the five school districts – Chillicothe, Greenfield, Hillsboro, Miami Trace and Washington – planning to secede from the SCOL, plus Jackson, which was seeking admittance to the league for the second time in recent years when the five schools announced their new plan on Feb. 26.
The five seceding schools, plus Jackson, are looking to merge with an existing league and are in current conversations about that, Smith said Tuesday. He said they hope to have an answer relatively soon. If the merger does not happen, Smith said the six schools would look to form a new league for the 2017-18 school year.
“We are pursuing, as a group, resolutions that would go to the school boards of each district saying we are committed to each other,” Smith said of the meeting he hosted.
“The key thing at this point is that we stay together,” Smith added.
As things currently stand, if the five schools leave, the league’s three Clinton County schools – Clinton-Massie, East Clinton and Wilmington – would be on their own following the 2016-17 school year.
However, there is apparently disagreement among the league’s current schools about how much notice a league member is required to give the league before leaving it. Jim Winner, the SCOL commissioner, said he did not feel comfortable commenting about what the various schools claim, saying only that, “Some schools have different opinions.”
Meanwhile, the SCOL Board of Control met Monday evening prior the league’s annual winter sports banquet. Winner said the board of control meeting started at 5 p.m. and adjourned at 5:30 p.m. He said all the athletic directors and high school principals, which make up the SCOL Board of Control, from all the current league members were present.
About a month ago the SCOL announced that it would be voting on admitting Jackson to the join league at the March 7 meeting, but Winner said no such vote was taken Monday.
The move to secede from the SCOL was reportedly initiated by some of the superintendents from the schools planning to leave. Winner said no superintendents were at Monday’s meeting. He said that as things currently stand, the SCOL will continue to operate as an eight-team league for the 2016-17 school year.
Winner said he could say nothing else at this point, but he did release a statement following Monday’s SCOL Board of Control meeting. It said: “The eight SCOL athletic directors and the eight SCOL high school principals all pledged to work together for the betterment of the student-athletes during the time that the schools are members of the South Central Ohio League.”
According to Wilmington Athletic Director Troy Diehls, the Chillicothe High School principal put an motion on the table at Monday’s meeting regarding the five schools leaving the SCOL beginning in the fall of 2017. A vote was taken and it came out 5-3 in favor of the motion. The five seceding schools voted in favor of it, while Clinton-Massie, East Clinton and Wilmington voted against it.
In addition, the SCOL voted in favor of a rule that says only two teams are needed to compete for a league championship in any sport, according to Diehls.
That vote reportedly came in light of a cross country situation where only four schools had full teams, but all teams had participants, yet an official league champion was not crowned.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.