Thinking out loud: combine the OVC and SOC leagues

Published 10:43 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Just a thought…
With the changing landscape of school enrollments couple with the Wild, Wild West world of transfers, it is beginning to become very difficult for a to of schools to put together a winning season, let alone a league title.
This is the case for both the Ohio Valley Conference and the Southern Ohio Conference. There are usually three or four teams who are at the top of the league each season competing for the title, and three or four who struggle to beat each other and fight to stay out of the cellar.
The thought here is WHAT IF they combine the two conferences and break them up into three divisions for football and it could be for football season only.
Baseball and basketball do not have that much of a disparaging competitive balance as football but the SOC has a few others schools to include in other sports because they do not have football.
Baseball and basketball could be divided into just two divisions if so desired or just leave well enough alone.
There are currently 20 teams playing football involved in both conferences but could grow to 21 with the addition of South Gallia in the fall of 2023. That, however, could change if Oak Hill jumps to the Tri-Valley Conference and fills the void of South Gallia leaving.
There have been rumors that Oak Hill is interested in the Tri-Valley Conference which would make an even six-team Division 2. South Gallia joining the SOC 1 gives that division and equal number of teams by moving Northwest up to Division 2.
The TVC would be attractive to Oak Hill because it would face a much easier football schedule than they currently play in the SOC 2 which consists of Waverly, Wheelersburg, Portsmouth West, Minford and Lucasville Valley.
Here is a look at what the conference breakdown would be if the two leagues merged even if it’s just for football purposes and leagues resume as usual for other sports.
Southern Ohio Valley Conference
Division 1
Portsmouth West
Division 2
Coal Grove
Rock Hill
South Point
Oak Hill
Lucasville Valley
Division 3
Symmes Valley
Portsmouth Notre Dame
Sciotoville East
Beaver Eastern
South Gallia
Having only seven teams in the second division causes a scheduling problem because a non-league game later in the season is much more difficult to fill because other conferences also play the final part of their schedule against other league teams.
But if Oak Hill leaves, that would be an easier job for athletic directors to fill games earlier in the season.
Like I said, it’s just a thought.
Jim Walker is sports editor emeritus of The Ironton Tribune.

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