The Miami Valley Conference finalized its football plans Tuesday by voting to accept Purcell Marian and Roger Bacon high schools as associate members starting in 2019-2020.
MVC president Brian Phelps said the vote was unanimous and the conference will use unbalanced divisions, six schools in the Scarlet and eight schools in the Gray.
Bacon, Purcell, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Summit Country Day, Norwood and Dayton Christian will make up the Scarlet Division. New Miami, North College Hill, Cincinnati Country Day, Miami Valley Christian Academy, Lockland, St. Bernard, Clark Montessori and Cincinnati College Prep Academy will be in the Gray Division.
Phelps said there will be no mandated crossovers. Scarlet and Gray schools can play nonconference games against each other if they choose to.
“I would say it’s a win-win,” said Phelps, the athletic director at Seven Hills. “I think the most competitive teams in our conference are excited to get two quality football programs and like-minded schools, and our less competitive schools are excited about not having to play our most competitive schools and feel like they can compete week in and week out with the schools in their division.”
The Scarlet schools will play their league games in Weeks 6-10. The Gray league slate will cover Weeks 4-10.
Phelps said the idea of using unbalanced divisions wasn’t a tough sell within the conference.
“I think competitiveness won out,” he said. “I think there was a clear split within the two divisions. Putting multiple teams in a situation where they couldn’t be competitive … that wasn’t our goal. I think it’s an example of how our conference works.
“We don’t just say seven-and-seven are even numbers and that’s how we’re going to go. We really look at all schools and try to do what’s best for all or most involved. The six-and-eight doesn’t create that floating bye week throughout the league schedule, which everyone is excited about.”
Purcell and Bacon will remain in the Greater Catholic League Coed Division for all other sports beyond football. Both schools had applied to the MVC for full membership.
The GCL Coed unanimously voted to permit Purcell and Bacon to play MVC football while remaining GCL Coed members. GCLC commissioner Tom Donnelly said that vote was for two years, so if Purcell and Bacon choose to stay in the MVC for football beyond the 2020-21 school year, it will require another GCL Coed vote.
Could Purcell and Bacon eventually become full-time members of the MVC?
“We don’t know what will come out of it,” Phelps said. “We’re excited for them to be part of our football conference. If they show interest to want to be full members, I think the conference will always consider that, although at this point there’s no plans to do anything differently outside of football.”