Central Ohio athletic alliances are in the midst of changes that could be affecting the future of the South Eastern Ohio Athletic League. Many athletic directors in the conference have voiced their school's stances on the future.
This summer, SEOAL members Chillicothe and Logan have each received invitations from the Mid-State League and the Ohio Capital Conference to join their respective leagues. Representatives from each school has responded to the rumors.
In an interview with the Logan Daily News, Logan superintendent Steve Stirn revealed the school is keeping all options open but would prefer to stay at its current standing.
“We would like to stay (in the SEOAL)... and if (the other schools) all stay we’d like to stay with them,” Stirn said. "The main thing is that we don’t want to be stuck without a league to play in. When you hear every year that other (SEOAL) schools are looking elsewhere, and if two or three of them leave, then we’d have to be independent — and that’s something we don’t want."
Independence is echoed by Portsmouth AD Joe Albrecht that he does not want to see in the future.
"It's very difficult to find games now as it is," Albrecht said. "We just filled out football schedule out completely just before school let out ... It is tough, Curt (Clifford, PHS football coach) could even tell you more than I could because he's been around so long, Curt's been involved with it for 35 years.
"And we do prefer being in a league like we were in the old Ohio-Kentucky Conference. That was a nice league but Ironton had to get out because of financial reasons, we're all pretty sure. And they had a hard time trying to find ball games."
While Logan has not tipped its hand entirely at this time, Chillicothe officials have gone on record to showing more interest of leaving. In a June 29 article with the Chillicothe Gazette, it was revealed that inquiring paperwork made by Chillicothe has been received by both the MSL and OCC for further review.
"Travel costs are not only defining the opponents you play, but also your conference affiliation," Chillicothe High School Principal Jeff Fisher said.
While the goal is to keep the conference alive, Albrecht understands the reasons for the inquiries.
"I think most of the teams are pretty much happy," Albrecht said. "But travel is so expensive. In all-school funding, it really affects athletics as well."
The SEOAL, which at one time was filled with 10 schools, has shrunk to six after the departures of Zanesville, Athens, Ironton and Marietta. Along with Chillicothe, Logan and Portsmouth, the league is comprised of Jackson, Warren and Gallia Academy.
Logan Daily News Sports Editor Craig Dunn and Chillicothe Gazette Staff Writer David Berman contributed to the report.
CODY LEIST can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.