Denied membership by the Midland Athletic League on Tuesday, Elmwood instead became the eighth member of the newly formed Northern Buckeye Conference yesterday.
The Royals will join their current Suburban Lakes League foes Eastwood, Genoa, Lake, Otsego and Woodmore in the NBC, which also will include current Northern Lakes League member Rossford and current Northern Ohio League member Fostoria. Competition in the NBC will begin in the 2011-12 school year.
Elmwood superintendent Steve Pritts issued a press release yesterday that addressed the events of the past two days:
"The opportunity to join either league [MAL or NBC], we feel, would have been a positive experience and an exciting new chapter in Elmwood athletic competition. We are grateful to both leagues for considering our applications, and the vote of confidence extended by the NBC to the Elmwood Schools and its athletes.
"We look forward to new league competition within the NBC beginning with the 2011-12 school year, and continued rivalries with our former SLL league schools and MAL schools in non-league competition."
NBC commissioner Larry Jones confirmed Elmwood's entry in the new conference yesterday, a move that enabled the NBC to achieve its goal of having an eight-team alignment, which is more convenient for scheduling purposes.
"We've been contacted by Elmwood and they've been invited into the NBC," Jones said. "We're excited to have them. They're a great fit for our conference."
Elmwood's move to the NBC leaves the seventh current SLL member, Gibsonburg, without a league for the time being. Gibsonburg was denied membership in the MAL along with Elmwood in a vote of that league's executive committee on Tuesday.
Gibsonburg principal Thom Loomis said administrators and coaches from his school began "brainstorming" Tuesday on their next move to seek a league affiliation. Although Loomis declined to comment on any specific league, the Golden Bears will likely look to the Toledo Area Athletic Conference for future membership.
The TAAC has seven full-time members, plus two schools - Edon and Hilltop - which compete in football only. Those two schools compete in the Buckeye Border Conference in all other sports and sub in for TAAC members Maumee Valley Country Day School and Emmanuel Christian, which do not have football programs.
Completing the TAAC are Cardinal Stritch, Danbury, Northwood, Ottawa Hills and Toledo Christian.
Gibsonburg, which has competed against several of the TAAC schools in various sports in recent years, would rank at the top of the TAAC in terms of enrollment.
According to official Ohio High School Athletic Association figures, the Golden Bears have 138 boys and 132 girls in the upper three grades. The top current boys enrollment among TAAC schools is Northwood with 127. Stritch has 132 girls.
The obvious benefit to adding Gibsonburg, however, would be increasing the TAAC alignment to a more scheduling-friendly eight schools.
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