DANVILLE — There is new life in the future of the Mid-Buckeye Conference.
MBC commissioner Ron Wintermute confirmed that three schools have applied for membership once the conference, as it is currently known, breaks apart in 2013.
Wintermute told the News that Mansfield Christian, Mansfield St. Peter’s and Lucas recently filed applications to the MBC.
No formal invitations have been offered. The schools not leaving in 2013 — Danville, East Knox and Loudonville — will vote on whether to extend invitations during the next league meeting, set for Thursday, April 5.
But it looks like it’s going to happen.
“I’m certain they’ll vote yes,” said Wintermute. “This is a chance to continue the long tradition of the Mid-Buckeye Conference.”
Currently, the MBC has eight schools. Utica, Northridge and Johnstown will leave to reform the Licking County League in 2013. At the same time, Centerburg and Fredericktown will join an expanded Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference. East Knox will also join the MOAC in 2014.
That would leave just Danville and Loudonville.
The new additions would mean that the MBC could remain viable — at least somewhat — with six schools in 2013. The number would dwindle to five in 2014 when East Knox leaves, but there is hope that the expansion isn’t over just yet.
“We’re still looking to recruit more schools,” said Danville athletic director Doug Selvey. “It will be good for the kids to remain involved in conference competition. That’s who we’re doing this for.”
Mansfield Christian and Mansfield St. Peter’s are independent schools. Lucas currently competes in the North Central Conference. With many of its schools leaving to reform the Northern-10 Conference, the NCC is expected to dissolve in 2014. Last month, Lucas worked a deal with the NCC to leave a year early.
Since Mansfield Christian and Mansfield St. Peter’s do not offer football, the remaining MBC schools would presumably become independent in that sport.
“It’s unfortunate that it has to be this way,” said Selvey. “The truth is, they don’t have football. So we’ll have to fill our schedule as best we can.”
Selvey believes the other Knox County schools can help when it comes to filling those non-league slots.
“We have a long history together,” said Selvey. “I know they’ll do what they can. There’s a bunch of really good guys running those programs.”
The new alignment, barring any further additions, would mean a shift in the geography of the MBC. Currently, Loudonville is the only MBC school not in the Central District. In the new post-2014 alignment, Danville would be the lone Central District representative.
The MBC has a long history with high school sports. The league was founded in 1948 and has survived in three different incarnations. The most recent reformation took place in 1981, with the last alignment change happening in 2004 when the league inducted Loudonville.
There has not been a decision as to whether to draw up a new constitution when the league reorganizes in 2013.
“We haven’t gotten that far yet,” said Wintermute. “We’re still just trying to put this together. There haven’t been any discussions that far ahead.”
Two of the three schools under MBC consideration are actually no strangers to the league and its history. Lucas was a founding member of the current MBC incarnation in 1981, remaining until 1999. Mansfield Christian was a member for one year, from 1982 to ’83.