HOLGATE — Following a months-long decision-making process that included conference invitations, football rescheduling and conference executive board meetings, the Green Meadows Conference (GMC) voted Thursday morning to remove Holgate from the conference following the league’s executive board meeting of the GMC’s eight school principals.
Following the GMC’s decision, the Holgate Local Board of Education held a special meeting Thursday afternoon in which the board voted to accept the invitation previously extended by the Buckeye Border Conference and become the eighth team in the BBC.
“The GMC executive board met today to discuss Holgate’s future in the GMC,” according to a press release from the conference’s executive committee. “There was a motion and a second to remove Holgate from the GMC. The results of the vote were in favor of the motion to remove Holgate from the conference.”
“The board voted to accept the invitation to join the Buckeye Border Conference, as they believe that to be in the best interest of our student-athletes and programs going forward,” said a press release from the Holgate Local Board of Education. “Holgate is grateful for the patience and diligence of the GMC in discussing and considering all implications of this decision. We understand the difficulty of this process and appreciate the professionalism they have exemplified.
“We are also extremely grateful to the leadership of the BBC for the invitation to join and for their willingness to keep the invitation open for our district. We look forward to still being able to compete against GMC schools as non-league opponents, along with developing new relationships and rivalries within the BBC.”
A timetable on when Holgate would leave the conference had not been expressed, nor a number of potential schools or which schools could potentially be approached to join the GMC.
According to the GMC press release, “The GMC executive committee agreed that removing Holgate from the conference was in the best interest of the GMC and Holgate. Holgate has been a part of the GMC for many years and our executive committee thanks them for years of friendly competition and membership. The GMC wishes their community, administration, coaches and student-athletes the best of luck in the future.”
Holgate has been a member of the Green Meadows Conference for all but six years of the league’s existence. Ayersville, Fairview, Hicksville, Paulding and then-Jewell (now Tinora) high schools comprised the charter members of the GMC when it formed in 1962. Blue Creek and Oakwood high schools joined in 1965 before Holgate joined in 1968.
However, the Tigers’ status as the smallest school in the conference in recent years has played a role in the recent instability. Due to low numbers, Holgate elected to participate in eight-man football, announcing the decision in late July. The Tigers’ success on the gridiron this past fall, along with other northwest Ohio programs electing to go the eight-man route, spurred the school to accept an invitation to the newly-formed Northern 8 Football Conference with Toledo Christian, Stryker and Danbury and commit play eight-man football for the next four seasons, eschewing their GMC schedules.
The Buckeye Border Conference (BBC) invited Holgate to join in all sports except football — which the BBC does not sponsor — in late October. Following the formation of a committee, an online survey of the Holgate community and multiple board meetings, the Holgate Local Board of Education ultimately voted to remain in the GMC on Jan. 14 ahead of the GMC executive board’s discussion meeting on Jan. 16 that led to Thursday’s decision to remove Holgate.
The Buckeye Border Conference is currently comprised of seven schools (Edon, Fayette, Hilltop, Montpelier, North Central, Pettisville and Stryker) that play a double round-robin conference schedule in baseball, boys and girls basketball, softball and volleyball. The league does not sponsor wrestling, a sport Holgate is not fielding.
“In the coming months, the GMC will have discussions regarding the process in accordance with the bylaws, competitive priorities and membership recruitment that it believes to be in the best interest of all sports across the conference,” said the league in its release, while the Holgate board noted that “discussions about the transition process from the GMC to BBC will take place over the next several months. Any league change will not be immediate as many plans need to be in place.
In 2008, the GMC received applications as a package deal from both Paulding and Edon, but turned them down to remain an eight-team league.