Bob Huelsman
Bob Huelsman

Bob Huelsman is a former high school teacher, coach and administrator, serving for more than three decades at Covington High School, in Miami County. In his 13 years as head basketball coach at Covington, Huelsman won 228 games and five times guided the Buccaneers to the regional round of the state tournament. Currently, he serves as the associate athletic director at Newton High School, and treasurer for the Southwest District Athletic Board. A former member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Control, Huelsman’s broad background in athletic administration has won the respect of his peers statewide.

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Is there a new small-school athletic conference in the works?  That’s a question to be answered, or should be answered,  in the near future.

The Cross County Conference has been stalemated over its football schedule, with some schools unwilling to change because of the fear of not being able to find nonconference opponents.  Pressure is being put on some schools to force this issue.

The word “on the street” is that several members of the old Southwestern Rivers Conference (namely Miami East, Covington, Bethel, and Lehman) are going to join hands once again, along with Ft. Loramie, Troy Christian, Bradford, Houston, and/or Arcanum, to form a new conference.  I wouldn’t be surprised if DeGraff Riverside wouldn’t be interested.

It’s obvious that the makeup of these possible eight schools has a lot of positives when it comes to scheduling—closeness, gate receipts, competition, rivalries, etc. 

Are there certain obstacles?  Certainly.  Nothing in the form of change comes easily or without consequences.

Will Ft. Loramie be willing to leave the Shelby County League?  With Houston possibly starting football soon and Anna being courted by the MAC, the Shelby County League may have a questionable future. 

Or would Ft. Loramie bolt for the MAC, along with Anna, as soon as they’re asked?

Will Arcanum be willing to leave its Darke County roots behind to foster its entire program?  They would play Franklin Monroe, Tri Village, and Newton in basketball anyways—probably a couple times.

How many schools will have reservations about two private neighboring schools in their league?  Will allegations about recruiting keep other schools from associating?

What will happen to the other members of the Cross County Conference?  The three current members located in Preble County (Twin Valley South, Tri County North, and National Trail) will more than likely hook up with the Southwestern Buckeye League, while the football programs at Ansonia and Mississinawa Valley may struggle to find opponents.

Preliminary discussions have already taken place, as the CCC tries to make a decision on what to do.  Several suggestions were made to try to keep the CCC intact, but vehemently opposed by some schools.

With gas prices skyrocketing, even above $4.00 a gallon, I would imagine school systems may take a harder look at conference affiliations…suggest divisions, eliminate junior high league play, etc. 

Athletic departments are going to be more concerned about finances, as schools are asking more and more of them to shoulder expenses.  Adding close rivals and better gates may become a priority.  It may become a necessity!

Should present CCC schools be concerned about their own program or about their comrades within the CCC?  There have been some bitter words thrown out at meetings that’ll be remembered for a long time and may create a riff.

It remains to be seen whether the CCC survives, whether the Southwestern Rivers Conference is reborn, or whether a whole new conference is developed.

Will time work its magic?

In the meantime, speculation will run wild and rumors started. You heard that old saying, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!”  I see smoke out there. Do you?

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