UTICA — The brand-new Licking County League has two new charter members, both at the expense of the Mid-Buckeye Conference.
In a unanimous vote, the North Fork Local school board decided to abandon the MBC for the new league, scheduled to kick off in the 2013-2014 school year.
The Johnstown-Monroe school board also favored the move by a 4-1 margin.
“There wasn’t much debate,” according to North Fork Local Schools board president Bernie Snow. He presided over Monday’s meeting that took little time to settle the matter.
“A lot of people in our community played in the league,” said Snow, referring to the LCL’s earlier incarnation that disbanded in 1991. “We talked about some of the reasons that the league broke up in the first place, but we believe those issues have been resolved.”
The true reasons for the breakup of the LCL 20 years ago have been lost over the years. Many say some schools became too dominant. Others say there was bickering between the schools.
Regardless, the school board took its time to decide. The board voted to table the issue last month, to give people more time to research the topic.
“We sought the opinion of the public,” Snow said. “The response was mostly positive. A lot of people want to see the LCL back together.”
Snow says economics did play a part, but it was a “minor issue.”
“The people want to see the old rivalries,” Snow said. “This gives us a chance to renew those.”
Ten schools were part of the LCL through much of the 1970s and ’80s. Lakewood, Licking Valley, Heath, Newark Catholic, Watkins Memorial and Granville will join Utica and Johnstown in renewing the conference. Only Licking Heights and Northridge have yet to vote on the matter. Northridge plans to discuss the topic at a town hall meeting on April 28.
The vote leaves the Mid-Buckeye Conference, potentially, with six schools. Five, if Northridge joins them.
The MBC has had some preliminary discussion about what to do if and when the schools leave. But nothing formal has been discussed.
“No schools have turned in their intent of withdraw,” MBC Commissioner Ron Wintermute said. “We won’t discuss options until that is done.”