Trotwood superintendent seeks answers about impending GWOC breakup

Answers. That’s all anyone interested in the impending breakup of the Greater Western Ohio Conference wants to hear.

That would include Kevin Bell, the superintendent of Trotwood-Madison City Schools. That’s the school district and GWOC member identified as key in 10 member schools likely leaving and starting a league of their own.

News of that isn’t yet 48 hours old, but it continues to resonate throughout at least 20 area communities. That’s how many schools make up the two-conference, four-division GWOC, easily the area’s largest high school affiliation. Half of those schools - Butler, Fairborn, Greenville, Piqua, Sidney, Stebbins, Tippecanoe, Troy, West Carrollton and Xenia – announced on Wednesday their intention to eventually bolt the GWOC, probably at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

What those school administrators, athletic directors and coaches haven’t said is why. Trotwood’s dominance in football and boys basketball apparently is a key reason.

»SPLIT DECISION: 5 things to know about the GWOC’s breakup

Here are five things Bell had to say about the issue in an interview with WHIO-TV’s Caroline Reinwald on Thursday:

1. When you heard about the announcement what was your reaction? “At this point, we just want the answer to the question why have the 10 schools that have decided to leave the GWOC. Why are they forming a league of their own? Why isn’t Trotwood invited to be part of their (new) league? …

What was part of that decision-making process? How did they ultimately arrive there? Why wasn’t Trotwood even part of the conversation or even thought of as being one of the contenders to being part of the new league?”

2. Is it possible because Trotwood dominated in the GWOC this past year? “I don’t want to speculate. I would like for those individuals to step forward and give their reasoning. Maybe that is part of what underlies in why they made the decision to exit the GWOC and have a league of their own. Maybe they for a chance to get to a state semifinal and Trotwood gets in the way of doing that.”

3. Would you want to respond to what your principal at the high school said about this being the only African-American school being left out of that decision? “Ultimately, there are some concerns as far as racial makeup because Trotwood-Madison is predominantly an African-American school. Did that have something to do with it? When you look at the break off of schools, they’re not primarily African-American. They do have African-American students who attend those school buildings, but if you look at the demographics, it makes one ask some questions.”

4. What’s the message this sends to your students, players? “For (our students), they have to ask why don’t these other schools want to compete with us? Kids are kids and they just want to compete. They want to have good rivalries and enjoy the sport. At the kid level, I don’t see any concern or issue. … What’s the problem all of a sudden? Ultimately, it’s an adult-based concern.”

5. Have you heard anything from parents yet? “Not yet. We’re just going to keep messaging that our kids are great kids. They do some wonderful things athletically. When it comes to scholarship offerings to them, we have an abundance, whether it’s academic- or athletic-based scholarships. We had over $6 million last year in scholarship offerings. …

On our end, we feel very comfortable with our programming. We’re just going to keep supporting our kids.”

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