GHS Principal Fritz Caudle put it this way: “At one point, it looked like we might not have any options.” Now, Galion has three paths to choose, and it is apparently choosing to look toward the south and west.
Several weeks have gone by since the NCC debacle, where four of the Crawford County school districts announced their departures for the new N10 Conference — and with Bucyrus still ostensibly considering their own options — while leaving Galion, Ontario, and Lucas alone in the NCC. As Galion sports fans know well, this breakup occurred just weeks after the start of Galion’s first official season in the NCC, and after the Tigers were unanimously approved for membership.
Principal Caudle, Assistant Principal Steve Kent, and Athletic Director Bob Roesch have spent the last were present at tonight’s Galion Board of Education meeting to share the results of their search for a new athletic home. Their goal, Caudle stated at the outset, was to be “proactive,” and to place Galion Schools in the best position given the size, quality of facilities, and distances involved with any possible future conference affiliation.
Galion has been approached about renewing its membership in the Northern Ohio League, however since the Tigers have left the NOL both Sandusky and Vermilion have joined, making travel times almost impossible to manage, he said. In essence, it was suggested, the NOL is a worse option than it was when Galion left.
The Ohio Cardinal Conference invited Galion, Shelby, and Ontario to meetings, but the OCC is not certain about their own future. Eastern OCC schools have talked about the possibility of leaving to join a new league with teams from the Dover-New Philadelphia area, but nothing has actually happened in that regard. According to Caudle, “nothing transpired” at those meetings, other than Shelby declining to join.
Lastly, approximately one week ago, Caudle said, he received a phone call from the Commissioner of the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference. That league currently has 14 teams, including its newest member, Galion’s long-time NOL foe, Upper Sandusky. The MOAC wants to expand to 16 teams in two divisions. One, the “Red Division,” will have Buckeye Valley, Fairbanks, Jonathan Alder, North Union, Marion Pleasant, River Valley and Upper Sandusky High Schools. It was apparent, he continued, that Galion was welcome to join that division beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.
Extensive discussion with coaches reinforced this possible move as a positive one. Galion would be in the “middle of the pack” of the current 14 teams, size-wise, and competition is strong. Caudle did say that travel would be longer than under the OCC proposal, but that Galion really “did not have a lot of perfect options” under the present scenario. The worst thing, he stated, would be for the Tigers to become independent, which would mean dramatically long travel times.
One additional benefit as compared to the NOL would be the fact that the MOAC does not include middle schools in its divisional format — and so Galion could play middle school opponents based primarily on geography. Also, because of the large number of schools, there would be league play in every sport, including tennis, even though some individual schools might not field teams. Also, the MOAC constitution is currently being drafted, and Galion as a member school could participate in that process — something that did not happen with the NCC.
Caudle closed by requesting the go-ahead from the Board to pursue discussion and the receipt of an official invitation to join the MOAC, and the Board signaled the go-ahead to do so. The final matter still must come before the Board for ultimate approval.