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Merging prep conferences could be real possibility

The landscape of college football is changing with the attempts of creating larger super conferences, mainly for the money it will attract.

On the high school level, merging conferences could solve a lot of problems and create an increase in revenue.

This is only a hypothetical idea, but with the Ohio Valley Conference about to shrink to five teams when River Valley exits for the Tri-Valley Conference in two years it could be a very viable solution.

Why not merge the OVC and the Southern Ohio Conferences?

The schools are relatively the same sizes and most of the teams are playing each other on a non-conference basis.

Since Northwest rarely challenges teams in the larger SOC II division, it might be wise to drop them into the SOC I smaller school division. If at some point in time Northwest begins to dominate the division, the league alignment can be adjusted.

Symmes Valley, Green, Sciotoville East, Portsmouth Notre Dame and Oak Hill would remain in the SOC I and add Northwest for a six-team league.

The larger SOC II would have five of the current members — Minford, Waverly, Lucasville Valley, Portsmouth West and Wheelersburg — and add the five OVC teams creating a 10-team league. That would produce a nine-game round robin schedule and teams would only need to find a season opener.

That kind of league would deal with football, but the SOC also has five other schools that play basketball but not football. South Webster, Beaver Eastern, Western Pike, New Boston and Portsmouth Clay mean five more teams during basketball season and that could result in larger divisions or to break down into three divisions.

Another possibility would be to add Ironton St. Joseph to balance the scheduling.

There aren’t many options for the OVC. Gallipolis and Jackson both attended a meeting last year expressing an interest, but the size of the two schools would not be a great fit for the other teams, especially Jackson.

Gallipolis has elected to drop Ironton in two years in order to play Fairland, possibly to enhance acceptance into the OVC but probably because the Blue Devils are 28-3 since 1971.

The Tri-Valley Conference is breaking into three divisions for football and will make a few alterations for the other sports.

The SEOAL membership has fluctuated in recent years between six and 10 teams. It currently has six schools that have vowed to remain together despite each looking into other possibilities.

Logan talked with Columbus city leagues but hit a brick wall. Warren made overtures to the Tri-Valley but the league said the school was too large and did not favor their return.

One idea for a league would be Jackson, Gallipolis, Chillicothe, Greenfield McClain, Washington Court House, Circleville, Miami Trace and Logan Elm to form an 8-team league that would be all highway travel.

Portsmouth could consider joining that league since the SOC continues to reject their applications for membership.

— Sinatra —

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.