Central Ohio League realignment news (major development)

Buckeye Backer

New member
Interesting timing. The last time this conversation came up, the circumstances were a lot different in the local area. With Intel coming and many of the school districts in the LCL preparing for massive growth, the situation is different this time around. Now that Zanesville and Mt Vernon are in the league...the same ole question comes back up...will Newark ever join? I think the timing and circumstances are perfect for a move. The division of the OCC that Newark will be moved into is less than desirable, so making a move to the LCL is much more acceptable.

If Newark is to ever join, now that Mt Vernon and Zanesville are in the league, they should rebrand as the COL...but that's just me. I also think that if Newark is to ever join, there has to be a few more schools join as well...looking at you Tri-Valley! Also, keep in mind that its highly likely that over the next 10-20 years, Licking Heights, Watkins and Johnstown could very well have multiple high schools.

LCL/COL OHIO:

Newark
Mt Vernon
Zanesville
Tri-Valley
Licking Heights
Watkins
Granville

LCL/COL CENTRAL:

Lakewood
Licking Valley
Heath
Johnstown
Northridge
Utica
Newark Catholic


Future LCL/COL After Enormous Growth in LC...


LCL/COL OHIO:

Newark
Mt Vernon
Johnstown
Licking Heights North
Licking Heights South
Watkins Pataskala
Watkins Etna
Granville

LCL/COL CENTRAL:

Zanesville
Tri-Valley
Licking Valley
Northridge
Heath
Newark Catholic
Lakewood
Utica
 

The Dock

Well-known member
Interesting timing. The last time this conversation came up, the circumstances were a lot different in the local area. With Intel coming and many of the school districts in the LCL preparing for massive growth, the situation is different this time around. Now that Zanesville and Mt Vernon are in the league...the same ole question comes back up...will Newark ever join? I think the timing and circumstances are perfect for a move. The division of the OCC that Newark will be moved into is less than desirable, so making a move to the LCL is much more acceptable.
FWIW, Newark's part of the OCC is something they evidently want: virtually all of the schools in the future OCC-Buckeye (coming Fall 2024), except for Pick Central, were already in a bloc of schools that Lancaster (and Newark) were publicly saying they wanted to be in a league with... with or without the OCC banner.
If Newark is to ever join, now that Mt Vernon and Zanesville are in the league, they should rebrand as the COL...but that's just me. I also think that if Newark is to ever join, there has to be a few more schools join as well...looking at you Tri-Valley! Also, keep in mind that its highly likely that over the next 10-20 years, Licking Heights, Watkins and Johnstown could very well have multiple high schools.

LCL/COL OHIO:

Newark
Mt Vernon
Zanesville
Tri-Valley
Licking Heights
Watkins
Granville

LCL/COL CENTRAL:

Lakewood
Licking Valley
Heath
Johnstown
Northridge
Utica
Newark Catholic


Future LCL/COL After Enormous Growth in LC...


LCL/COL OHIO:

Newark
Mt Vernon
Johnstown
Licking Heights North
Licking Heights South
Watkins Pataskala
Watkins Etna
Granville

LCL/COL CENTRAL:

Zanesville
Tri-Valley
Licking Valley
Northridge
Heath
Newark Catholic
Lakewood
Utica
I think 10-20 years is a little too quick of a timetable to see multiple high schools. The capital to build more buildings will come before the students necessitating the growth, IMO. I really think it's more likely to see Northridge grow by 20% (at least?) than it is SWL/Watkins go to two high schools.

LCL future, IMO, boils down to two things: 1) the obvious impact of Intel and future growth, 2) whether or not Northridge and Utica dramatically improve in the #'s & athletics game. Right now I imagine those two are just fine with the LCL staying at 12 (meaning that Valley stays in the Buckeye.)
 

Buckeye Backer

New member
Olentangy went from 1 high school to 4 high schools in under 20 years...and that wasn't with anything like Intel is planning. I could easily see Watkins and Licking Heights having multiple high schools IMO. I don't think that is a stretch at all. Also, Newark was ok with that new OCC division way before they knew Intel was coming and how that was going to change the county. I would bet anything, that they are reevaluating their future. I do know this...many Newark fans are "there" with joining the LCL. It just seems like an inevitable move. This new OCC division has a lot of travel that fans are already bemoaning. Going to the likes of Teays Valley and Logan isn't going to gain a lot of fanfare. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next few years for sure....
 

The Dock

Well-known member
Olentangy went from 1 high school to 4 high schools in under 20 years...and that wasn't with anything like Intel is planning. I could easily see Watkins and Licking Heights having multiple high schools IMO. I don't think that is a stretch at all. Also, Newark was ok with that new OCC division way before they knew Intel was coming and how that was going to change the county. I would bet anything, that they are reevaluating their future. I do know this...many Newark fans are "there" with joining the LCL. It just seems like an inevitable move. This new OCC division has a lot of travel that fans are already bemoaning. Going to the likes of Teays Valley and Logan isn't going to gain a lot of fanfare. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next few years for sure....
I can see Heights getting to a second high school within 10 years. Watkins will be a slower crawl, IMO. Maybe Pickerington schools can relinquish some of the territory that's experiencing new development over to SWL. The impending 33-to-70 connector route could also either be a boon (or a detriment) to SWL growth.

The last time Newark had interest in the LCL, it was a package deal situation from about ~6 years ago that would have expanded the LCL to 16. One of the schools pulled out, though, at the last minute and it killed the deal. I get what you're saying, never say never, but really the LCL has come to learn first-hand that the conference future is reliant on a constantly-evolving series of events and trends.

~6 years ago: lets go to 16 schools -- [glass break] "A school has pulled out, and the plan has been abandoned."

2-3 years ago: a school, or two, could leave due to a nearby conference expansion/reconfiguration situation. Not a big brand school, but their defection would inevitably make the conference deeply imbalanced and worsen headaches that could cause the league to fall apart. [school being discussed wasn't selected for neighboring conference's expansion/reconfiguration] "We'll still look to expand and reconfigure on our own over time. There are imperfections and we all want to work to reduce the impact of the imperfections, in order to keep every school at the table happy."

Post-football 2021, pre-Intel news: opportunities exist to possibly expand the league to 12, 14, or 16. Potential suitors are identified, as are schools to pursue. [responses come in, from nearby non-LCL schools, to 'interest checks' sent out] "Some schools we'd be interested in politely declined, a couple other schools didn't decline but for various reasons didn't commit to the idea of wanting to be a part of an Expansion Proposal To Be Voted Upon; the list of schools that we can seriously expand with has dwindled to just one (Mt. Vernon.)"

Post-Intel news: Mt Vernon, after having a year to think it over, agrees to join the LCL. Due to the anticipated impact of Intel, as well as other league developments in Central Ohio, all other expansion opportunities that were previously explored in the last year are tabled.
 

Dutch1257

New member
I think this will be the start of several schools to come to the LCL with Intel breaking ground. I believe the LCL name is safe with most of the schools coming from Licking County, and with Intel coming in to make this area a mecca of world recognition.

Schools I can see possibly coming in are to the northwest.

New Albany
Big Walnut
Centerburg

To the southeast

Tri-Valley
Sheridan
West Muskingum

To the southeast

Lancaster
Bloom Carroll
Liberty Union
Whitehall
Bexley
Reynoldsburg

Or maybe

Upper Arlington
Cols. Academy
Pickerington
Pick-North

(drop the Central off of the Tigers)


They could split into (4) 6-team divisions of 24 schools or more.
 

The Dock

Well-known member
I think this will be the start of several schools to come to the LCL with Intel breaking ground. I believe the LCL name is safe with most of the schools coming from Licking County, and with Intel coming in to make this area a mecca of world recognition.

Schools I can see possibly coming in are to the northwest.

New Albany
Big Walnut
Centerburg

To the southeast

Tri-Valley
Sheridan
West Muskingum


To the southeast

Lancaster
Bloom Carroll

Liberty Union
Whitehall
Bexley
Reynoldsburg

Or maybe

Upper Arlington
Cols. Academy
Pickerington
Pick-North
I struck-through the schools that, for one reason or another, wouldn’t happen.

BC looked like a prime candidate, but they respectfully turned down the LCL last winter. Really, I only see BC playing the likes of Watkins in a league formation outside of the LCL.
 

The Dock

Well-known member
I’m quite confident that the “MSL schools coming into the LCL fold” ship has sailed. The opportunity for it to happen would’ve been this last winter, but the MSL side of the hypothetical didn’t inch much toward interest. I felt that was a mistake on the MSL’s part, and still feel so. The MSL schools bet on their ambitions and on their pride these last twelve months… and they ended up euchring themselves.

Bexley, Cols Academy and Whitehall probably had the best opportunity to make it in. However, they may have blown it with that stupid stunt of leaving the MSL to form their own conference. If joining the LCL was a goal, they probably should’ve just waited. I think those three are probably happier with the new conference they created, anyways.
 
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