TROY — The Troy City Schools board of education discussed the district’s potential withdrawal from the Greater Western Ohio Conference, or GWOC, at the monthly meeting held on Monday.
“As you’ve probably heard by now, we’re in discussion with some other schools to formerly withdraw from the GWOC,” said Superintendent Eric Herman. “At this point, nothing has officially been decided on a withdrawal from the GWOC. We’re still in it, and will be — there’s a process that needs followed in order to do that.”
At a previous meeting, a proposal cited the withdrawal of all six of the schools in the American North division of GWOC — Troy, Tippecanoe, Piqua, Sidney, Butler, and Greenville — as well as four of the five members of the American South division, with the intention of forming a new league.
Troy was a charter member of the GWOC when it began in 2001 with 14 schools in its roster. In the years since, the conference has expanded to include 20 schools.
“The growth has been good, but it’s also caused its own problems,” Herman said. “In our time with the conference, we’ve formed many quality relationships. We’ll always be thankful for that, and are committed to finishing our time with GWOC in a strong positive professional manner. But if you think about it, anytime you bring together that large a group of people, there’s going to be growing pains. The GWOC has tried to address everyone’s needs as best as they can, but the more people you bring to the table, the more needs you have.”
Herman discussed how the student enrollment gap was also a factor in the decision, as some districts are growing faster than others, which makes for disproportionate competition.
“The student enrollment gap has grown between schools,” Herman said. “That alone has caused some scheduling issues. When you form a league, you try to form it so you can play each other and help your scheduling out. When a league grows to this point, it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes the numbers change — if somebody builds, and you add 50 to 100 kids, it can make a big difference.”
Herman explained the enrollment gap in smaller school districts caused difficulty for some schools to be successful during league play.
“There comes a point when numbers do matter, and it’s hard for some schools to stay competitive,” Herman said. “Success in athletics helps to create a positive climate within the community. When you’re losing and not having success, it does reflect in the community. Some schools in the league haven’t won very many games in the last few years. We’d like to be able to change that.”
Herman provided charts and statistics to the board that displayed current standings of schools with the division, and addressed that, in entering a new league, there would still be growing pains.
“As we enter this new league, Troy will be the biggest in the league,” Herman said. “There’ll be people half our size, and accommodations will have to be made. All schools want to give and take as much as possible, and the GWOC has done that. It’s just reached a point where the give-and-take has run its course. When both groups are formed, if the 10 schools pull out, the GWOC will still have ten, and it will allow them to still have a league.”
Board member William Overla asked if there had yet been discussion about who would run the new league. Herman confirmed those discussions wouldn’t happen until withdrawal was official.
Overla also asked if the new league would require the same two-year commitment from schools as the GWOC, and Herman confirmed it would.
“What happens with these leagues is they often don’t even make it that long,” Herman said. “It gets to a year, and people want to start breaking out and doing their own thing. But we have a two-year commitment, and are scheduled to play it, so we’ll do that.”
Overla added along with competitive balance, the new league would be economically helpful.
“When you have teams that are geographically closer, it does help in terms of economics, especially in non-revenue-type sports,” Overla said.
President Doug Trostle also indicated before the inception of GWOC, Troy City Schools was always in a smaller 10-school league.
“I think some things just run through their cycles,” Trostle said.
Pending board approval, Troy City Schools will submit its letter of withdrawal from GWOC by Saturday, March 31, 2018, and will then become the charter member of a new league. A new resolution will be presented to the board in March.