By MICHAEL BURWELL
LEIPSIC — Leipsic High School will be leaving the Blanchard Valley Conference.
By a 5-0 vote in Monday night’s board of eduction meeting, the Leipsic school board voted to leave the conference after the 2021-22 athletic season. A letter of withdrawal was sent to BVC schools Monday night regarding the decision.
Leipsic has been a football member of the conference since the BVC’s inception in 1965 and a member for all other sports since 1971.
Leipsic athletic director Gary Kreinbrink said Wednesday night the decision to leave the conference has been in the works for several years and was based on uncertainty with football going forward, as well as financial reasons stemming from attendance for games.
“When we sent the letter to the other schools in the BVC, we were just unsure of the football situation in our conference,” said Kreinbrink, who serves as the BVC’s contract commissioner. “We know Liberty-Benton continues to get bigger, in fact they’re only a few boys away now from being Division IV, and we also have some of the smallest schools in our conference too.
“Our administration met a couple years ago, made a decision that if the opportunity came that we might look at other options that we would probably try to jump on it and try to be proactive and not wait until the potential downfall of the league. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but we just had the opportunity to maybe pursue other interests at this time, so the opportunity kind of came up for us. Our extracurricular committee team decided that we were going to go ahead and do that.”
When asked whether Leipsic is looking at joining other conferences, Kreinbrink said “that’s something I don’t want to get into right now,” but that the school has a plan.
“We certainly have some ideas of what we want to do and some of the avenues that are presented to us,” he said.
“We’re just in a situation here with the BVC where we’ve got a couple of schools now that are playing eight-man football in junior high. Half the league doesn’t play JV football. Many of the games at the varsity level right now are not competitive, they’re running clock situations and so we just don’t feel that’s giving our kids the best opportunity when we’re in that situation.
“We’re not faulting anybody, we certainly appreciate and really, the only reason we’re in the BVC to be honest is for football because we’re in the Putnam County League for everything else.”
Leipsic, which also competes athletically with seven other schools in the PCL, is among 11 current teams in the BVC. The Vikings have won BVC titles in most sports, with its most recent league championship coming in boys basketball in the 2015-16 season.
Leipsic is the latest change to the BVC over the past several years.
In 2017, Hopewell-Loudon school board voted to join the Sandusky Bay Conference after becoming a BVC member along with North Baltimore and Riverdale in 2014. Hopewell-Loudon started competing in the SBC River Division this past school year.
In 2014, Hardin Northern, which was an original member of the BVC, joined the Northwest Central Conference.
“Hopewell-Loudon and North Baltimore and Riverdale came in, Hardin Northern ended up leaving at that time and we thought there were some other schools in that similar position, that’s why we expanded at that time,” Kreinbrink said. “It got through the next eight years here and I don’t know what’s going to happen down the road, but the BVC, it has some uneven enrollment numbers to put it frankly in the league. So we’re just trying to be proactive and try to help ourselves as much as anything.”