The Greater Catholic League Coed Division finally has a clear view of its future … at least its near future.
Purcell Marian and Roger Bacon high schools have been voted into the Miami Valley Conference for football starting in 2019-20, but both schools are remaining in the GCL Coed for all other sports.
The GCL Coed schools unanimously voted May 2 to permit Purcell and Bacon to play MVC football while staying in the GCL Coed.
» RELATED: Purcell, Bacon voted into MVC for football
That vote covered the 2019-2020 and 2020-21 school years. There will need to be another GCL Coed vote if those two schools wish to stay in the MVC beyond that time frame.
“I think it was a good thing for everybody,” GCL Coed commissioner Tom Donnelly said. “I think it’ll be good for those two football programs to get strong and see where they are after that two-year period, and then we’ll go from there.”
Donnelly made it clear that the GCL Coed’s goal is to have all of its members participating in all of its sports.
“My hope and expectation is that this will provide a great opportunity for those two schools to grow and develop their football programs and come rejoin the GCL Coed and keep it strong and vibrant,” he said. “If that happens, then we’ll know this plan has worked.
“Just to assure everyone that this was not a slippery slope and it wasn’t setting a precedent for an a la carte league, which it is not, part of the motion was that those two schools reaffirm their commitment to play a league schedule in every sport in which they have a team.”
Donnelly said Purcell is being allowed to play a nonleague schedule in boys and girls soccer as the school tries to rebuild both programs.
The league structure isn’t changing for the 2018-19 school year. The GCL Coed will switch from a two-division format to one division in 2019-20.
Scheduling will now move forward in all sports, according to Donnelly. He said no final decisions have been made at this point.
For football, the GCL Coed schools have been in discussions with the Columbus-based Central Catholic League about an alliance that will help everybody fill their schedules in Weeks 4-10.
With the GCL Coed down to six football teams starting in 2019, Donnelly said the alliance seems likely to happen.
“I have every expectation that it will,” he said. “I would hope that by the end of the school year we have something worked out.
“If we didn’t have viable alternatives, the vote might have been different,” Donnelly added of the GCL Coed’s decision to permit Purcell and Bacon to have dual league memberships. “We have great confidence through our meetings with the Central Catholic League that we can make things work to everyone’s benefit.”
What if Purcell and Bacon opt to return to GCL Coed football after two years and the alliance with the CCC schools is a big hit? Certainly it’s possible that the GCL Coed wouldn’t need to schedule Columbus schools in that scenario.
“That would be a great bridge to cross,” Donnelly said. “That’s something that is two years away before it has any weight to it.”
The GCL Coed athletic directors are scheduled to gather for their next monthly meeting June 6.