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EBC looks for a few good teams

The Eastern Buckeye Conference has played with seven schools the last two seasons. Now the league is down to six.

Canton South voted at a special board meeting last Thursday to leave the Eastern Buckeye Conference and join the Principals Athletic Conference in the 2022-23 school year.

“Somebody has to be the smallest school in the league and that is what everyone tries to avoid,” EBC commissioner James Carmichael said.

That leaves Alliance, Carrollton, Marlington, Minerva, Salem and West Branch in the EBC when Canton South leaves following the 2021-22 school year.

“We’re definitely looking for somebody,” Carmichael said. “Hopefully we’ll get somebody that will fit.”

The EBC athletic directors met Tuesday and decided to advertise for new members on the OHSAA website.

“A couple of schools are showing interest,” Carmichael said. “I’m not going to say anything right now.”

Canton South’s departure did not come as a surprise.

“It’s very difficult with the way we are spread out from Salem to Canton South,” Carmichael said. “They (Canton South) put up with it because they wanted to be in league.”

Canton South received an invitation to join the PAC after Loudonville became a member of the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference.

The Wildcats go from one of the smallest schools in the EBC to one of the largest in the PAC,.

“Canton South had expressed interest four to five years ago in the PAC and they didn’t have room for them,” Carmichael said. “I’m thinking in the back of my mind, if they get an offer, they’re going to go. It came to fruition. It was good for them. They go from the middle of the pack to a big school. I like Canton South and get along with them. I hate to see them go.”

The EBC has been left with seven schools after they departed the Northeastern Buckeye Conference, leaving Louisville as the only member of that league.

“Football drives everything,” Carmichael said. “I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.”

Now one of the smallest schools in the EBC will be Minerva, which is 1-49 over the last five football seasons.

“Everybody wants to win. I get it. That’s why we play,” Carmichael said. “Minerva’s had a tough time in football. I know that. They’re trying to correct that.

“Everyone has to do what is best for their kids. When you’re little or small, sometimes you have to make that decision.”

He expects to hear more about schools interested in joining the league at the next athletic directors meeting at the end of the month.

“We should know something by then,” Carmichael said.

The league is hoping to start the fall sports season as scheduled, but there is a lot of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re not getting many answers,” Carmichael said. “I don’t know what is going to happen.

“We have things we have to move on. We’re not getting a whole lot of guidance. It makes it pretty difficult. If I had my way, I would have had it yesterday. The next couple of weeks are really important.”

This fall, there are going to be more questions than answers.

“What happens if the season starts and somebody gets it? What do we do?” Carmichael said. “Everybody wants it to be normal, but I believe COVID is here and we have to learn to deal with it.”

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