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Ohio Valley Conference vote adds Portsmouth to league

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

The Ohio Valley Conference will remain a six-member league.

Although River Valley will leave the OVC after this school year, the league membership numbers won’t change after the admission of Portsmouth during a vote of league officials on Wednesday.

Portsmouth will leave the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League to join the OVC. The Trojans will begin play in 2014 as they fill the void left by River Valley who will join the Tri-Valley Conference.

The five remaining OVC schools are Coal Grove, Rock Hill, Chesapeake, South Point and Fairland. Those schools have enrollment numbers between 275 and 405 students. Portsmouth has 362 total students.

A school petitioning to join the OVC must receive a unanimous vote to be accepted.

“We’re thrilled to get in the league just from a competitive standpoint. It will be good from day one,” said Portsmouth superintendent Scott Dutey. “Our kids and fans will appreciate it. With time, I’m sure we will develop good rivalries. We were thrilled to get the invite and we’re thrilled to be part of (the OVC).”

Portsmouth’s exit will leave the dwindling SEOAL with just four members. After Chillicothe’s departure this year, the league consists of only five schools: Portsmouth, Gallipolis, Jackson, Logan and Warren.

Travel in the SEOAL is hard on members along the Ohio River. Portsmouth’s longest trip is 123 miles one-way to Warren. The longest trip in the OVC would be 51 miles to Fairland.

“The money we have to put out because of our busing situation gets costly. We have to charter buses to get there on time because our buses are taking our students home,” said Dutey.

“When you think about every sport — boys and girls — the expense adds up. Now the longest trip is 51 miles to Fairland. That’s a huge difference.”

Gallipolis has made several attempts to join the OVC. Jackson has made some inquiries to both the OVC and the TVC. Both schools could follow Chillicothe to the South Central Ohio League.

Other schools that were recent members of the SEOAL but left in recent years include Ironton, Marietta, Zanesville and Athens.

Other schools that were on the OVC list of possible replacements for River Valley included Ironton, Symmes Valley, Oak Hill, South Gallia and Raceland, Ky.

The league may expand beyond the six-team total. There is a meeting scheduled Monday to discuss other schools.

 

OVC Enrollments

School Boys Girls

South Point 209 196

Fairland 202 188

Rock Hill 189 166

Portsmouth 187 175

Chesapeake 176 158

Coal Grove 140 135