(3–1-20) This week it was made official that Paulding would leave the Northwest Conference and go back to its roots and rejoin the Green Meadow Conference.

With that move the NWC will be down to just 7 football schools (8 total schools, Lincolnview does not have football). If not for football it would not be an ’emergency issue’, but scheduling a 7-member football conference causes nothing but nightmares for a football coach and an athletic director.

The landscape of available schools for the NWC might provide the solution.

The quickest and one that would not cause another conference to make a move to replace a member is of course Lima Central Catholic. The Thunderbirds have been an independent since the NWC abruptly asked them to leave the conference.

STATELINE SPORTS HOUR HIGHLIGHTS 12-31-11 – … guests include – Lima (Ohio) Central Catholic AD Ron Williams talks about the Private vs Public issue LCC faced this year…

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But that solution could be a lot harder to make since the separation was almost like a divorce, but it would solve the problem for everyone. Many NWC schools are still playing LCC in a variety of sports, but being a conference game could be another issue.

Two former NWC members  might be targets of the NWC. In 2003 Upper Scioto Valley left the conference for the Northwest Central Conference, while Perry joined in 2004. During this time Perry’s athletic programs, in part to open enrollment, has been quite successful and a move to the NWC might be a good move for them. One negative about the NWCC has been the constant change of members over the years, including football schools. Stability might look very inviting to the Commodores.

Two Midwest Athletic Conference schools might also be on the NWC radar, Delphos St. John’s and Parkway.

The Blue Jay’s joined the MAC during the 1982-83 school year, after a short stay in the Western Buckeye League, it would be a great fit and cut down on travel for them. But just like LCC, the Blue Jays are a private school and in the past that hasn’t worked in many area conferences. Plus, the bug-a-boo that St. John’s and Delphos Jefferson have about playing each other is an issue that would have to be addressed. But this would make sense for the NWC.

Parkway over the years has faced the challenges of the MAC, but when competing with NWC schools they have been very competitive. This year the Panthers football and boys basketball teams were in the zone and competed quite well. A move to the NWC by Parkway should at least be considered by both sides.

Both MAC schools would benefit their wrestling programs as the NWC sponsors that as a conference sport. Plus girls soccer would benefit the Blue Jays program.

One other fit might be from the Western Buckeye League, the Bath Wildcats. Bath had a short run in the NWC from 1964-66 before joining the WBL. Bath has struggled in both football and boys basketball recently, they are a great geographic fit an d it might be a time for a change.

The question is for the NWC, will they want to add just one new member to fill the departure of Paulding…or…add three new members to make a ten school conference? Will schools knock on their door or will this be a recruiting process for the NWC.

You can bet local schools and conferences will be keeping an eye on what the NWC does next.