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Greater Western Ohio Conference votes Trotwood-Madison out

The Greater Western Ohio Conference on Wednesday voted to “dismiss” Trotwood-Madison High School from the area’s largest affiliation.

GWOC Commissioner Eric Spahr cited schedule concerns, a disparity in enrollment and Trotwood’s inability to field teams below the varsity levels in some sports.

The eight remaining GWOC members eventually will be Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairmont, Miamisburg, Northmont, Springboro, Springfield and Wayne beginning the 2020-21 school year.

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It was the latest significant GWOC change in the last year:

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• Last February 10 GWOC American Conference schools announced their intentions to withdraw and revise a 10-team Miami Valley League. Trotwood, also a GWOC American Conference South member, was not invited.

The new 10-team MVL will consist of Butler, Fairborn, Greenville, Piqua, Sidney, Stebbins, Tippecanoe, Troy, West Carrollton and Xenia beginning the 2019-20 school year.

• In November Lebanon announced it would leave the GWOC for the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, beginning the 2020-21 school year.

It was the GWOC members that will not leave to form the MVL - excluding Lebanon - that voted on removing Trotwood.

“We didn’t think the vote would be enough to go through,” Trotwood-Madison principal Raymond Caruthers said. “It was tipped against us when Lebanon left.”

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Trotwood has evolved into a state power in football and boys basketball. The Rams won a Division II state football championship in 2011 and added a D-III state football title in 2017. This past football season snapped a streak of eight straight state semifinal appearances by the Rams.

Trotwood’s boys basketball team has been a three-time qualifier for the D-II state final four since 2014 and was a state runner-up last season.

But that success has coincided with a declining enrollment in the Montgomery County school district. Trotwood has the smallest enrollment of all the current 20 GWOC members with 361 boys and 320 girls according to the most recent Education Management Information System numbers provided by the Ohio Department of Education in 2017.

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Despite Trotwood’s varsity success in many sports, other GWOC member schools have often lamented Trotwood’s inability to consistently field JV and freshmen teams.

“That’s not a legitimate concern at all,” said Caruthers.

Trotwood’s GWOC membership was addressed by the remaining eight athletic directors - again excluding Lebanon - during a meeting with Spahr two weeks ago. 

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“Hearing the leaders wanting to move on without us, that was really tough,” said Trotwood athletic director Frank Russo, the former longtime Cincinnati LaSalle track and field coach who’s in his first year in that position. “Just listening to everyone saying, we’re not wanted. We’re not a fit.”

Spahr said the vote was 8-1 on Wednesday to dismiss Trotwood from the GWOC. Trotwood was not represented. Spahr said he voted to keep the Rams in the conference.

“It was a numbing experience to hear we had been voted out of the league,” said Russo.

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Russo said Trotwood will reach out to other conferences and prepare to be an independent.

“Almost every avenue was exhausted in terms of trying to find a solution that was equitable to all parties involved,” Spahr said. “At the end of the day, every superintendent, principal and athletic director did what they could to make things work, but ultimately, they’re responsible to communities and (school) districts. It was a collective decision that couldn’t come to an equitable solution for everybody.”

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