Buckeye Local set to withdraw from the Buckeye 8

CONNORVILLE — For the first time in Buckeye 8 history, one of the league’s charter members is withdrawing.

Effective for the 2020-21 school year, Buckeye Local will no longer be part of the league, which currently encompasses 10 schools divided into a North and South division.

Buckeye Local formally submitted its one-year notice this week to Buckeye 8 President Ken Parker, citing the desire to be independent. The Panthers will remain members of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference.

“It was a tough decision, but we made it together,” Buckeye Local Athletics Director Sam Jones said. “We met several times on this and the majority of our coaches and athletic council arrived at the decision that it would be in the best interest of Buckeye Local to belong just to the OVAC.”

Buckeye Local will remain a fully eligible member in 2019-20 and will still play the entire northern division in 2020 because it will honor its two-year contracts that it signed with the membership.

“We felt this will provide us a lot more flexibility in scheduling, but we still have great relations with other Buckeye 8 schools and hope to continue to play in most sports,” Jones said.

Parker, who is the principal at Harrison Central, said the league will look at the future of the league during its annual June meeting.

“We thank Buckeye Local for all of its service to the Buckeye 8 and wish them well,” Parker said.

Buckeye Local, which has won just five Buckeye 8 titles, considered all options, including a smaller-school conference. However, they again arrived back at the decision that the best interest of the school and its student-athletes was to be independent.

“There are definitely some mixed feelings because some rivalries will be ending, but we’re also looking forward to starting some new ones,” Jones said. ”

Obviously, football stirs the drink and the Panthers have won just two of their last 60 on the gridiron and are currently on a 42-game losing streak.

“Starting in 2021, people are going to see a much different football schedule,” Jones said. “We’re looking for a football schedule in which we can be more competitive.”

According to Jones, the Panthers have signed contracts with Barnesville, Monroe Central and Shenandoah for 2020. In 2021, Toronto has been inked.