LM to seek entry into ECC

Posted on: October 1, 2018
ECC logo

If all of the pieces fall into place, Little Miami athletes in just two years could be facing off against some familiar opponents from the past.

On Sept. 25, the Little Miami Board of Education voted to send a letter of interest and seek application to the Eastern Cincinnati Conference after ECC officials made it known they were looking to fill a potential vacancy.

Before joining the Southwest Ohio Conference in 2012, Little Miami was a member of the Fort Ancient Valley Conference. The FAVC at one time had two divisions: the Cardinal (Kings, Little Miami, Northwest, Norwood, Ross, Turpin, Wilmington) and the Buckeye (Amelia, Anderson, Glen Este, Harrison, Loveland, Mason, Walnut Hills, Winton Woods).

The ECC is currently composed of Anderson, Kings, Loveland, Milford, Turpin, Walnut Hills, West Clermont and Withrow. Should Little Miami’s application be accepted, competition would begin in the 2020-21 season.

Little Miami Athletic Director Keith Pantling made a detailed presentation to the Board, explaining that making a move to the ECC made sense in many areas. The presentation included letters from 13 LM coaches who were in favor of the move.

Pantling pointed out that travel distance is one of the biggest concerns with the current conference, where the average travel time is 45 minutes to conference opponents. Teams regularly return to school at 10 p.m. or later from away games.

Pantling also said that because of the proximity of many potential ECC opponents, more fans may travel to Little Miami, potentially increasing ticket sales and gate receipts.

He also said that as Little Miami teams have continued to grow, SWOC teams have not. He said for women’s soccer alone, two SWOC schools do not field junior varsity teams. In addition, SWOC opponents do not all field teams in women’s golf and lacrosse, and several do not have freshmen teams in sports that Little Miami does. This makes scheduling difficult, he said.

Less than a year ago, the ECC sought to expand to a 10-team league and a similar agenda item came before the Little Miami Board of Education in February. At that time, the Board voted 4-1 against applying, with board member Wayne Siebert casting the only vote in favor. The ECC controlling board subsequently considered applications from Winton Woods and Lebanon, then voted to stand pat and not expand.

On Sept. 25, Board member Bobbie Grice said that she was concerned that ECC teams will bring a higher level of competition, and perhaps mean more Little Miami losses.

“I don’t think that way,” Pantling said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and I see a great opportunity. That’s just how I am and that’s how our coaches are.”

The Board voted 4-1 in favor of seeking application, with Board president Randy Haas casting the dissenting vote. The vote approved sending a letter of interest and accepting the invitation should it be tendered. The ECC's deadline for letters of interest is Oct. 17.

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