GWOC accepts Tipp, Stebbins

As expected, Tippecanoe and Stebbins high schools will leave the Central Buckeye Conference and join the Greater Western Ohio Conference in the fall of 2016.

Those schools formally applied last week. Their acceptance was announced by GWOC Commissioner Eric Spahr on Thursday.

That swells the area’s largest conference membership to 20 schools and depletes the CBC to 10. The GWOC consists of three divisions, six teams each. To accommodate Tipp and Stebbins, a fourth division will be created.

The new GWOC will be:

  • North: Butler, Greenville, Piqua, Sidney, Tippecanoe and Troy.
  • South: Fairborn, Stebbins, Trotwood-Madison, West Carrollton and Xenia.
  • East: Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairmont, Springfield, Wayne.
  • West: Lebanon, Miamisburg, Northmont, Springboro.

Spahr said football was the “driving force” behind the expansion. That would give the GWOC nine D-I teams and 11 in Divisions II-III. Lumped into North/South and East/West “sister divisions,” once those schools agreed to crossover football games, adding Tipp and Stebbins was a done deal.

“Our membership was very pleased with the outcome,” Spahr said. “At the end of the day, when we left the room, the conference felt as a whole that we were stronger than when we entered the room.”

The CBC already has been proactive in anticipation of losing Tipp and Stebbins. Just last week CBC Commissioner Mike Ludlow announced the conference was looking to expand and was accepting letters of interest.

Tipp and Stebbins are CBC Kenton Trail Division members. Depending on interest, the CBC will have to realign itself with new members or shift Mad River division teams to have an equal balance for its divisions.

“We’ll have to do something,” Ludlow said. “Our goal is to try and not just replace them, but we think we need to get bigger to deal with some of our scheduling issues.”

Other CBC Kenton Trail members are Bellefontaine, Kenton Ridge, Shawnee and Tecumseh. Mad River members are Ben Logan, Graham, Greenon, Indian Lake, Northwestern and Urbana. Tipp (Miami County) and Stebbins (Riverside) are the only CBC members not anchored in Clark, Champaign and Logan counties.

“Once one domino falls a lot of times there’s a lot of others that fall,” Ludlow said. “It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. Ultimately, each school has to do what they think is best for their community and their kids.”

Spahr said Tipp and Stebbins made initial contact and the entire process took about one month. He also wouldn’t rule out additional expansion.

“We’re positioned that way,” he said. “It’s not something we’re actively pursuing. But if the potential is there, we’re certainly set up that way moving forward. Ideally, we’d like to find a Division I school. You never say never in this process.”