Late Monday, Mid-State League member Canal Winchester submitted the final paperwork to join the OCC in as early as the 2013-2014 school year. The OCC will vote upon the recommendation in the near future.
This means the Southeast Ohio Athletic League is now on notice. The talks of this league's future carries a little more weight.
With the exodus of Canal Winchester, a league member since 1966, the MSL will look to fill the void left by this Franklin County school. A few options will come into play:
1. The MSL will look to the SEOAL, either Chillicothe or Logan. Traveling is something on everyone's mind and natural routes for both schools (US Route 23 for Chillicothe and US Route 33 for Logan) can make it more enticing.
The only issue is how would the rest of the league react to their anticipated membership? A source close to the situation has stated a few schools are not in favor because of competition issues.
If Logan were to join, they would automatically be the largest school in the league in terms of enrollment. With every sport in either Division I or II, Logan would join Teays Valley as the only school in the MSL with this stature.
Teays Valley is rumored to also be leaving the MSL for the OCC. But a press release from the OCC commissioner stated expansion at this time will stop with the addition of Canal Winchester until further notice.
That doesn't mean the whole TV-to-OCC deal is off, it just means that talks of addition will be put on the shelf for the time being.
2. If neither Chillicothe or Logan are viable options for the MSL, West Jefferson could be another option. The Roughriders are already in the MSL (they currently in the Cardinal Division while Canal Winchester is leaving the Buckeye Division).
The MSL Cardinal is also feeling the loss of members with at least Licking Heights leaving to help create the new Licking County League. Geographically, the move to the Buckeye Division makes sense for West Jefferson because the district is located just West of Columbus while all of the other teams in its division are East of the capital city.
Confused yet? Yeah, this only gets murkier.
The MSL Ohio Division will be the biggest losers of this conference realignment. Schools like Bexley, Whitehall-Yearling and Gahanna Columbus Academy will be left out like roadkill on the side of the highway for the figurative vultures to fly in and swoop up what they want.
Could the remaining schools just disperse to the other two MSL divisions and make it easy on everyone? Unfortunately the OCC is one of those vultures.
The SEOAL still has backing from most of its members, stating a league membership is better than being independent. The only school that is hinting about leaving is Chillicothe.
With the league meetings this month, things should be buzzing. Once the MSL has its meeting, another will be held in December that could make things interesting.
As a Logan Elm graduate (a school in the MSL Buckeye Division), it will be unusual for me not to associate Canal Winchester in the league. Only time will tell which school will fill that void.
CODY LEIST can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.