Three Clinton County schools were approved Thursday morning to join the Southern Buckeye Athletic & Academic Conference.
According to a press release, the Executive Board of the SBAAC voted unanimously to add Wilmington, Clinton-Massie and East Clinton to the league roster beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
“The SBAAC is excited to raise the level of competition for student-athletes in our league with the addition of these three quality schools,” said New Richmond Supt. Adam Bird, president of the SBAAC Executive Board.
The three local school districts will not become official members of the SBAAC until their respective boards of education approve the invitation.
Each school has until May 1 to provide the SBAAC with documentation that their respective board of education has accepted the invitation.
“We are excited they have invited us in,” EC athletic director Jim Marsh. “We are anxiously waiting to finish the process.”
Wilmington City Schools Supt. Ron Sexton said his district is pleased the SBAAC has invited Wilmington but would not make a commitment just a few hours after the league’s decision.
“I appreciate their quick movement to accommodate the Clinton County schools,” Sexton said. “And we’re not finding anything negative with the SBAAC. We just need time, and we told them that in a conference call (on Monday). It’s not that (the SBAAC) is our fallback option. There is nothing else on the table right now.”
Sexton said the school’s boys basketball team advancing to the state tournament has put the search for a new league on hold.
“The last two weeks have been a whirlwind, a whirlwind we’d like to go through every year,” Sexton said. “We haven’t done our due diligence. We need to see what our options are. What is best for our programs and then make a decision.”
Sexton said the WCS board of education is scheduled to meet at the end of April. “I do not expect a decision to be made that quickly,” he said. “It looks like a nice fit. But in no way have we spent time with our coaches, our board to discuss what our best course of action is. While it looks like a good course of action … one of the worst things a school district can do is go to another league and then something else come up and you go with that.”
Wilmington, Clinton-Massie and East Clinton members of the South Central Ohio League. Five other SCOL members have informed the Clinton County trio they plan to leave the league following the 2016-17 season, which would leave WHS, CM and EC without enough schools to complete a league schedule.
Current members of the SBAAC are New Richmond, Blanchester, Amelia, Batavia, Bethel-Tate, Clermont Northeastern, Felicity-Franklin, Georgetown, Goshen, Norwood, Western Brown and Williamsburg.
Should the county trio joins the SBAAC, the alignment would be as follows:
• American Division (big schools): Wilmington, Clinton-Massie, Western Brown, New Richmond, Goshen, Batavia.
• National Division (small schools): East Clinton, Blanchester, Clermont Northeastern, Bethel-Tate, Williamsburg, Felicity-Franklin, Georgetown.
Fayetteville is a member of the National Division for football but the Southern Hills Athletic Conference for all other sports. Felicity and Georgetown do not have varsity football.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.