Nobody likes sitting in traffic, especially when they have somewhere important to get to.
The most common theme from the three Madison County high school athletic directors who pushed themselves away from the Columbus-based Mid-State League in the last couple years for more rural conferences was traffic and drive time issues.
London City Schools was the latest to jump out of the MSL Ohio Division, joining the Central Buckeye Conference possibly as early as 2018-19, but definitely by 2019-20. Jim Wolverton, the London High School director of athletics, said travel time to away contests was definitely one of the considerations for moving.
“In doing this we considered a lot of things and travel, mileage and drive time were up there,” Wolverton said. “Most of the schools in the CBC are in the 30-35 minute drive range. Bellefontaine is the farthest away and that’s probably going to take slightly over an hour. But we know that going in.”
The MSL in which London is leaving and where Madison-Plains and West Jefferson were prior to joining the Ohio Heritage Conference is a league situated in Franklin County in and around Columbus. Getting to those schools in locations like Whitehall, Bexley, Gahanna (Columbus Academy), Worthington Christian and Grandview around 5 p.m. has created many headaches over the years.
“Going to the CBC the drive times will be pretty consistent,” Wolverton said. “Going to a place like Whitehall might take 45 minutes one time and an hour and 15 minutes the next. We’ve spent a lot of time sitting in traffic in Columbus.”
The new CBC will be divided into two divisions, the Kenton Trail Division which will include London, Jonathan Alder, Bellefontaine, Springfield Shawnee, Kenton Ridge and Tecumseh. The Mad River Division will be made up of North Union, Benjamin Logan, Indian Lake, Urbana, St. Paris Graham and Springfield Northwestern.
West Jefferson which will start its first season as a member of the OHC this fall, when the decision was made to make the move then Roughriders athletic director Matt Adams talked about travel times and less traffic problems with going West away from Columbus for games.
“The schools in the OHC are schools a lot more like us,” Adams said then. “The other schools in the OHC aren’t necessarily closer to us, but there’s not the traffic problems we have going into Columbus so we should be able to get to them easier.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.