HOLGATE — The end of a historic day for the Green Meadows Conference (GMC) and Holgate athletics had the Holgate Local Schools Board of Education vote to accept an invitation to join the Buckeye Border Conference (BBC) during a special meeting Thursday.
The vote, which was 4-0 with Darlene Hoffman at the meeting via teleconference, but unable to cast a vote, came in response to the GMC voting to remove Holgate from the league during a special meeting of the GMC executive board earlier in the day.
Holgate Superintendent Kelly Meyers opened the meeting by reading the press release issued by the GMC. She then reminded the board members the BBC’s invitation remained on the table.
Holgate Middle/High School Principal Brian Hughes, who was present at the GMC executive board meeting, said no timetable for Holgate’s removal from the GMC was set, but he said he thought it would take place during either the 2021-22 or 2022-23 school year.
“Any time you have a move like this there are a lot of moving pieces,” said Meyers. “It’s not going to be immediate.”
The board discussed options, including being independent and looking at other leagues and gauging their interest in Holgate. Board member Bryan Post said the athletic committee that was convened to study joining the BBC did talk about the possibility of joining the Putnam County League and Blanchard Valley Conference.
Neither of those options were viable for a variety of reasons, according to Post.
Holgate treasurer Kent Seemann reported fees to join the Northern 8 Conference in football and the BBC would be a “hit.”
“The athletic department would not have to take that on,” Seemann added. “It would come out of the general fund.”
Hoffman, by teleconference, said the board needed to vote to join the BBC.
“Based on what has happened today I think we should pursue the BBC route,” said Hoffman. “We need to be careful of scheduling, that is something we have to figure out. We owe it to the committee and students to look hard at the BBC and go that route.”
A vote was called for to join the BBC for the 2022-23 season and it passed.
The board then issued a statement following the meeting.
“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. 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.
“We also thank our community and the athletic committee for their input and continued support of our school, students and programs. Discussions about the transition process from the GMC to the 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 mid October the BBC sent an invitation to Holgate to join the conference. The deadline to accept that invitation passed on Jan. 15. However, Pettisville High School Principal Mike Lane said in a statement to Holgate the BBC would keep its invitation on the table until a time another school shows an interest in joining the BBC.
The BBC must now formally accept Holgate’s invitation to join the league.
Earlier in the day, the GMC voted to remove Holgate from its conference. According to Hughes the ballot was cast in secret and only GMC Commissioner Thomas Dominique counted the votes.
Dominique announced a majority of the schools voted to remove Holgate, but he did not say by what count.
“I understand the decision,” said Hughes. “We don’t take it personally. We are eight principals that represent our schools, not ourselves. In the end, they did what they felt was best for the conference.”
The GMC issued a statement following the vote.
“The GMC executive board met today to discuss Holgate’s future in the GMC. 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 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 of friendly competition and membership. The GMC wishes their community, administration, coaches and student-athletes the best of luck in the future.
“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.”
This is the first change in the conference make-up since 1975, when Edgerton joined the GMC after Paulding left the conference to join the Northwest Conference.
Holgate joined the GMC, which was formed in 1962, in 1968.