VANDALIA — The Vandalia-Butler Board of Education is poised to vote on a proposal to leave the Greater Western Ohio Conference on during its meeting on Tuesday morning.
The proposal to leave the conference and form a new 10-team conference with Fairborn, Greenville, Piqua, Sidney, Stebbins (Mad River), Tippecanoe (Tipp City), Troy, West Carrollton, and Xenia.
The resolution says that Vandalia-Butler will leave the conference at the end of the 2019-20 school year “or sooner if by mutual agreement.” A new league is to be formed no later than the 2020-21 school year.
News of the impending breakup broke earlier this month after the winter meeting of the GWOC’s athletic directors, principals, and superintendents.
The schools’ departure would leave the GWOC with 10 teams incuding Trotwood-Madison, Centerville, Wayne, Fairmont, Beavercreek, Springfield, Northmont, Springboro, Miamisburg, and Lebanon.
In an interview earlier this month, Butler Athletic Director Jordan Shumaker talked about the different needs of Butler versus schools such as Centerville or Fairmont that are nearly three times Butler’s size.
“When you talk about schools with 3,000 plus kids versus schools even smaller than us with 900 enrollment the needs are just different,” said Shumaker. “That doesn’t make our needs more important than anyone else’s but it does make them different. These are not new issues which is why we are in the sixth iteration of the GWOC in 20 years and, just like we have done for the past 20 years, we are in discussions on how best to solve them. Everyone wants what is best for their community and their kids which is what we are paid to do.”
Shumaker said that the larger schools want league-sanctioned sports in lacrosse and boys volleyball – sports the smaller schools don’t play. He also said that the communities are different as are the competition level.
“We are all for increased participation but not if it is detrimental to the athletic department as a whole,” he said. “These are all issues we are talking about and deciding if we can solve as a group of 20 schools or are they solved a different way.
Another area of concern is competitive balance between the larger schools versus the smaller schools.
Since the GWOC began expanding in the mid 2000’s, scheduling issues, especially cross-over games pitting large versus small schools have been an area of concern for many schools.
An example is in 2012 and 2013 when Butler had Wayne as a cross-over opponent in football. Butler lost both games by a combined 95-40 score which included 14 points long after the game was decided in 2013.
Competitive balance, or the lack of it, in the “revenue” sports of football and basketball is likely one of the factors involved.
Trotwood-Madison has gone to either the Division II or III state semifinals in football for eight straight years including the DIII state title in 2017 with a perfect 15-0 season. In eight games against GWOC American teams in 2017, the Rams won by an average margin of 49.25 points per game.
Similarly, in basketball, the Rams have played 12 games against American Division foes so far this season and have won all 12 with an average margin of 45 points per game. Tippecanoe (16) and Butler (17) are the only two opponents to lose by less than 20 points.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.
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