CINCINNATI — Edgewood High School and Ross High School announced Tuesday afternoon the athletic programs are scheduled to leave the Southwest Ohio Conference to join the Southwestern Buckeye League starting in the 2023-24 school year.
Ross announced the move shortly before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday while Edgewood announced its move nearly two hours later.
The two schools have been members of the Southwest Ohio Conference (SWOC) since prior to the 2012-13 school year. The other members include Harrison, Mount Healthy, Northwest and Talawanda high schools.
"The Southwest Ohio Conference has been informed that Edgewood High School and Ross High School intend to leave after the 2022-2023 school year," said SWOC president Joe Pollitt, Northwest High School principal. "We wish them the best of luck as they begin their transition to the Southwestern Buckeye League. As a league, we have already started the process of reaching out to other area high schools to gauge their interest as we look to replace Edgewood and Ross and possibly expand further."
The Ross Local School District (RLSD) Board of Education adopted a resolution Jan. 20 accepting an invitation to join the SWBL starting in 2023-24.
The SWBL is composed of 10 schools in the Middletown and Dayton areas, including Bellbrook, Monroe, Waynesville, Franklin and Oakwood in the East division and Eaton, Brookville, Valley View, Carlisle and Middletown Madison in the West division.
"We're doing what we feel is in the best interest of our students and our student-athletes for the long term," Ross athletic director Jake Richards said. "We feel like the Southwestern Buckeye League is a great place for us. Our values align very well. We have great relationships already with a lot of their member schools. We feel like it's a great move for us as a district."
The RLSD will begin to work immediately with SWBL member schools to formulate the timeline, divisional alignment and scheduling details regarding transition to full conference membership, according to a news release.
The media release said Ross students have flourished as members of the SWOC, but the RLSD administration believes a change in league membership is in the best interest of students and the community.
Richards said geographical considerations were addressed in initial conversations with the SWBL executive committee and the RLSD board of education. He said the Ross school community is committed to giving the best opportunities possible for its student-athletes even with extended travel for interscholastic competition.
Edgewood City School District superintendent Russ Fussnecker said in a release the Edgewood Board of Education voted to approve the SWBL membership on Monday night.
Fussnecker said in the release the district is grateful for the opportunities its student-athletes have experienced as members of the SWOC.
"We believe that the SWBL, a league with a rich history of utilizing sport as an extension of the classroom, represents a stable and competitive space for our student-athletes to grow far into the future, and feel honored to receive this invitation," Fussnecker said in a release.
"The athletic department will begin to work immediately with SWBL member schools to formulate the timeline, divisional alignment, and scheduling details regarding our transition to full SWBL membership."