LEWIS CENTER — Centerburg and Fredericktown are now just steps away from joining a new league.
The Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference announced it has offered formal invitations to the two schools, as well as to Jonathan Alder and Fairbanks.
The league met last week to approve the invitations. A spokesperson says all schools verbally accepted the invitation. The move will take effect for the 2013-14 school year.
“We wanted to make the best decision for Centerburg kids and their future,” Centerburg athletic director Jim Stoyle said. “That’s what’s most important.”
Stoyle says a number of factors, including transportation costs and ticket sales, weighed in on the decision.
“Highland is our biggest gate in basketball,” Stoyle said. “Now, we’ll get to play them twice a year. ... Our football teams haven’t played in 20 years. But we’re seven miles apart. So this is a great opportunity.”
The move becomes official on June 20, when the Centerburg school board is expected to approve the measure.
The decision by the two schools almost certainly means death for the Mid-Buckeye Conference, which is already losing other members.
According to MBC commissioner Ron Wintermute, Johnstown, Utica and Fredericktown all submitted official “intent to withdraw” letters over the weekend.
Johnstown and Utica are expected to join the newly-formed Licking County League beginning in 2013-14. Northridge is expected to join them as well, though they have yet to make any formal moves.
This leaves just Danville, East Knox and Loudonville in the MBC come 2013. Danville and East Knox had also applied for membership in the MOAC, but no invitation has come their way.
The MOAC will be realigning itself when it adds the four new schools for the 2013-14 season. Fredericktown, Centerburg and Highland will join Mount Gilead, Northmor, Cardington and Ridgedale in the East Division.
The MOAC was founded in 1990 with 10 schools, all of which are still there: Elgin, Pleasant, Ridgedale, River Valley, Buckeye Valley, Cardington, Highland, Mount Gilead, North Union and Northmor.