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Ohio Valley Conference invites Ironton

Jim Walker



The Ohio Valley Conference may be adding a new player.

At a meeting Monday morning, the OVC voted to invite Ironton into the league. Ironton representatives — superintendent Dean Nance, high school principal Joe Rowe and athletic director Mark LaFon — attended the meeting but the school’s inclusion to the conference is contingent on approval by the Ironton City School Board at its monthly meeting next Tuesday.

The possible addition of Ironton comes on the heels of the league voting to include Portsmouth last Wednesday. With the addition of Ironton and Portsmouth, the OVC now has a seven-team membership.

Ironton will be the conference’s second smallest school in terms of enrollment with 315 students in the upper three grades. Only Coal Grove is smaller.

“Overall it’s good for our athletic department. We get to play in a league and it will save us money in terms of travel expenses,” said LaFon.

“It will make scheduling easier, but there are still certain teams that we want on our schedule. We don’t want to lose them.”

Ironton wants to keep Wheelersburg, Russell and Ashland on the schedule regardless of the league schedule.

Ironton will not be part of the football schedule in 2014 and possibly 2015 due to prior contract commitments. The Fighting Tigers will compete in all other sports.

Ironton has already signed contracts starting next year with Meigs and Jackson. They also resigned Oak Hill for two more years. Ironton already plays Portsmouth annually.

Portsmouth will leave the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League to join the OVC next year and fill the void left by River Valley who jumped to the Tri-Valley Conference,

The five remaining OVC schools are Coal Grove, Rock Hill, Chesapeake, South Point and Fairland. Those schools have enrollment numbers between 275 and 405 students.

A school petitioning to join the OVC must receive a unanimous vote to be accepted.


OVC Enrollments

School Boys Girls

South Point 209 196

Fairland 202 188

Rock Hill 189 166

Portsmouth 187 175

Chesapeake 176 158

Ironton 162 153

Coal Grove 140 135