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Jackson applies for membership to OVC, SOC, SCOL

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

JACKSON — “The Man Without a Country” is a short story written by Edward Everett Hale.

The story is about an American Army lieutenant named Philip Nolan who renounces his country during a trial for treason and is sentenced to spend the rest of his days at sea without so much as a word about the United States.

Now you know how the remaining members of the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League feel right now.

According to a story by Paul Boggs of the Jackson Times-Journal, Jackson is desperately searching for a new home with the looming disintegration of the SEOAL.

The Ironmen have applied for membership to the Ohio Valley Conference, Southern Ohio Conference and the South Central Ohio League.

Don’t expect any takers.

Extended travel plus the size of the schools in the SEOAL has seen Ironton, Portsmouth and Gallipolis to leave in recent years. Ironton and Portsmouth joined the OVC this year with Gallipolis set to join in the 2016-17 school year.

Athens struggled to win in football and basketball and finally left several years ago to join the Tri-Valley Conference, a move the TVC has come to regret due to Athens’ size compared to the rest of the league.

Jackson and current remaining SEOAL members Logan and Warren along with Gallipolis also applied for the TVC last March in hopes of forming a third division of larger schools that would include Athens and Vinton County.

However, Vinton County did not want to be part of the larger school division and the plan did not materialize.

“If we end up going independent, scheduling really becomes tough,” said Jackson superintendent Phil Howard.

“There are not too many people to schedule, and lately, we’ve had to pay a lot of non-league schools to come here and play us for one year.”

Chillicothe Unioto has become the Athens of the Southern Valley Conference because of its size that continues to grow. The SVC would like to rid itself of Unioto and replace them with Waverly.

Unless Unioto leaves on its own, the only solution for the SVC would probably be to disband and reform without offering membership to Unioto.

The SCOL is similar to Jackson in size but also has extended travel. The league consists of Greenfield McClain, Hillsboro, Miami Trace, Washington Court House, Clinton-Massie, Chillicothe, East Clinton and Wilmington.

The OVC will now have eight members and is not interested in a ninth member, especially with its enrollment and travel distance.

Jackson is hopeful of joining the SOC which has two divisions consisting of smaller schools in SOC I and larger schools in SOC II. Oak Hill plays in the smaller division in football but the larger school division in all other sports.

The SOC II is comprised of Wheelersburg, Minford, Portsmouth West, Northwest (smaller division in football), Waverly and Lucasville Valley.

South Webster — who does not have football — plays in the larger school division.