Northern Ohio League to wait until after summer to decide on Sandusky
A long-awaited domino fell in the ever-changing high school league and conference memberships in Northwest Ohio.
The Greater Buckeye Conference and its future is in even further limbo after Tuesday morning's announcement that Napoleon was extended an invitation to become the eighth member of the Northern Lakes League beginning in the 2011-12 school year.
Read Hazelwood's blog at FANDY.COM.
Napoleon quickly accepted the invite to leave the GBC.
"I don't think anybody is surprised by it," Sandusky Athletic Director Susan Sackett said. "They've expressed a lot of interest in leaving over the past couple years and with all the movement going on in the conferences to the west, this really doesn't catch anyone by surprise."
The GBC is a six-team conference currently that includes Sandusky, Fremont Ross, Findlay, Marion Harding, Lima Senior and Napoleon.
Napoleon's pending exit from the GBC would make for a five-team conference and an added nightmare to what was already difficult scheduling with a six-team conference.
"No question the hardest part would be trying to fill the schedule," Sackett said of a five-team conference.
The bigger question is, could a five-team GBC even work?
"It would be very, very difficult," Sackett said.
Napoleon's domino fell when the proposed 12-team expansion for the Suburban Lakes League fell through, which led to five teams leaving the SLL in a mass exodus to form a new conference with Rossford, who left the NLL and created the vacant spot that Napoleon will fill.
The new conference is expected to be called the Northern Buckeye Conference, which will include Eastwood, Genoa, Woodmore, Lake, Otsego and Rossford. Speculation is that Fostoria, currently in the Northern Ohio League, will receive an invite along with another school in attempts to make it an eight-team conference.
"Our goal now is to find two other teams that will be tight geographically to minimize travel expenses and time, especially for our junior high students," Eastwood superintendent Brent Welker said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the murky future for the GBC could also hinge on what the NOL does to replace Galion and Upper Sandusky, who voted in January to join the North Central Conference in 2011-12.
Both Sandusky and Marion Harding applied to fill vacant spots in the NOL and made presentations last month, but the two schools will wait a little while for an answer.
"Nothing will be decided over the summer," Norwalk Athletic Director Dave Rehnborg said. "We'll wait and see where the domino's fall, but in the meantime a decision won't be made before next school year."
Sackett said it's hard to say what the future may hold for the GBC at this point.
"I have no idea where it will go, to be honest," she said. "We have not heard anything, so as far as we're concerned we're still a part of the GBC.
"We definitely hope to meet this summer as a conference. Right now we don't have a meeting set, but I'm sure now we will."