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East Liverpool staying put

EAST LIVERPOOL — The Eastern Buckeye Conference is still looking to fill a vacancy after East Liverpool turned down an invitation Monday.

East Liverpool officials have been pondering a move for the 2022-23 school year since being approached by the Stark County-based EBC last year.

It appeared the Potters were going to join the EBC at one point, but the final decision came during an athletic committee meeting Monday.

“It would not have been fair to make them wait,” East Liverpool athletic director Greg Voorhees said.

“We had a meeting with them,” EBC commissioner James Carmichael said. “The AD and the principal and some of the coaches seemed excited to be coming into the league,”

Voorhees was one of those in favor of the league change.

“That’s the direction we were heading,” he said. “It seemed like some people changed their mind. After polling our coaches again, the coaches favored staying in the (Buckeye 8).

“The junior high coaches are more comfortable staying where they are at.”

Voorhees said the coaches were given a say during the process.

“Most of the decision came down to the coaches,” he said. “We tried to let everybody have input. I didn’t want to force them into a situation where I was making a decision for them.”

East Liverpool joined the Buckeye 8 in late 2013 and will continue as a league member.

The Buckeye 8 consists of a North and South Division. East Liverpool competes in the North Division with Beaver Local, Edison and Indian Creek with Harrison Central joining next school year.

“If we weren’t in this league, the EBC would have been the place to go,” Voorhees said. “Like anything, there are things you aren’t happy with.”

He said doesn’t like some of the Buckeye 8’s shortcomings.

“It is only half the league it appears to be,” Voorhees said. “We only get three football games out of it. I like the EBC is guaranteed games for every season for all sports.”

He said the Buckeye 8 will be down a team after hearing Edison will be going independent in the 2022-23 school year.

“The EBC approached us,” Voorhees said. “There were things I liked about it and what they had to offer us. It was certainly something I was open with comfortably with.”

The EBC also talked with Beaver Local about joining the league.

“We did, but they don’t want to come,” Carmichael said.

“When we were considering leaving, they had been approached as well,” Voorhees said. “Their decision didn’t hinge on us and our’s not on them.”

East Liverpool already plays EBC members Salem and West Branch. The EBC also includes Alliance, Carrollton, Marlington, Minerva and Canton South, which is leaving after the 2021-22 school year to join the Principals Athletic Conference.

The EBC, which formed in 2018, had an athletic directors meeting Monday.

The league is trying to have eight members for scheduling purposes, but Carmichael said no one is interested at the moment.

Canfield and Howland were turned down after being considered too big for the league.

“We’re going to look around,” Carmichael said.

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