ARCOLA (JG-TC)-- Monday the Arcola School Board authorized high school principal, Lisa Sigrist, to submit the Arcola School District letter of intent to withdraw from the Little Okaw Valley Conference only if the situation by Friday warrants a change according to a press released from the Arcola School District.

The LOVC met Tuesday and the conference governing board was to discuss the Villa Grove concerns, which includes travel time, along with possible solutions. They are also to consider a vote that would extend the deadline to withdraw from Friday to Jan. 1, 2018 which would give all schools more time to have a discussion about what is best for each school district. 

Arcola superintendent Tom Mulligan told the Arcola School Board that it is a complicated situation and indicated to the board that the current conference situation is changing daily. 

Currently, there are two divisions in the Little Okaw Valley Conference, which began in the 2014-15 school year. The LOVC Northwest Division members are Arcola, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, Cerro Gordo/Bement (only girls' basketball has both Cerro Gordo and Bement), Argenta-Oreana, Sangamon Valley/Tri-City (for football, track and volleyball; boys' basketball is Sangamon Valley only and girls' basketball is not part of the LOVC as the host school is Tri-City), Okaw Valley and Decatur Lutheran School Association (Decatur LSA/Decatur Christian for softball and football). Members of the LOVC Southeast Division are Cumberland, Martinsville, Hutsonville/Palestine, Oblong, Tri-County(Oakland, Kansas and Shiloh) and Villa Grove/Heritage. 

Mulligan indicated that several school districts currently in the LOVC have discussed the possibility of withdrawing from the current conference to create a new conference that would provide a more stable 10-football team conference. Mulligan made it clear that that did not mean only 10 schools would be in the new conference, but rather that the goal would be to have 10 stable football programs (including cooperatives) in the conference. 

According to Mulligan Villa Grove was considering withdrawing form the conference unless a drastic change occurred. Villa Grove's concerns in the southeast division are travel time, inconvenience that it causes students and parents, lack of fan attendance at events and uncertainty from year to year of some schools being able to field teams in various activities and a lack of a natural rivalry. 

Mulligan, Sigrist and Arcola athletics director and football coach Nick Lindsey are concerned that if Villa Grove leaves an unbalance between the southeast and northwest divisions would then cause Arcola to be put in the southeast division, which is something the three administrators feel would not be in the best interest of the district or Arcola students. 

If Arcola leaves the LOVC it would be after the 2018-19 school year. 

In 2013 the LOVC football schools were Cerro Gordo/Bement, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (at that time was a co-op of Arthur-Lovington and Atwood-Hammond), Villa Grove/Heritage, Tri-County, Arcola and Martinsville. In January of 2013 the LOVC approved Oblong, Sangamon Valley for the 2014-15 school year. Cumberland and Palestine/Hutsonville were approved in Nov. 2012 and Argenta-Oreana and Decatur LSA were approved prior to that.  

The LOVC was formed in the 1971-72 school year and there have been many changes throughout the years, including Arcola joining in 1981-82. 

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Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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