(5-23-22) As the 2022 school year comes to an end Liberty-Benton school officials have a lot of work ahead of them in finding a new athletic conference home.

On May 6th Liberty-Benton announced that they would be leaving the Blanchard Valley Conference after the 2025-26 school year. The reason for leaving is theur ‘higher enrollment’ then other BVC members. Liberty-Benton’s request to withdraw was approved unanimously by the membership. The statement ended with the district will soon be looking into conference possibilities.

Liberty-Benton, besides being the largest school in the BVC, had over the years dominated numerous conference sports. That success is most likely the real reason for the change. Whose idea was it to leave L-B or the BVC membership? Good question.

L-B’s withdrawal allows for a 4-year time period to find a new athletic home, the majority of standard departures from a conference allows for a 2-year time frame. Which does indicate that at this time no solid solutions are in place at this time.

In an email reply to SSN today on the situation –

Mark Kowalski, Superintendent Liberty-Benton Local School District

We will be in the BVC through the 2025-2026 spring sports season at the latest. We have engaged in talks with other leagues but nothing concrete yet.

In recent years it is not unusual for a conference to ‘force’ a member out. Down the road in Lima, Lima Central Catholic (LCC) was asked to leave the Northwest Conference (NWC) with the main reason being the domination of several conference sports.

10 years later LCC is still looking for a conference home.

It also happened in Indiana just this past school year.

To say the MIC was ‘rude’ in their dismissal of two very successful programs would be an understatement. In December this past year both schools were given the immediate boot and were not allowed to compete in the spring conference sports. The MIC has yet to replace the two members.

In doing research on this story the district’s website for the Board of Education section have not been updated since December of 2021 with agendas or board minutes. BOE agendas that are suppose to be made public might identify some of the questions on the timing of the withdrawal of L-B from the BVC and the next steps in finding a new athletic conference.

At this point in time anything that has been heard or discussed on social media is speculation and has been strictly based on (numerous) rumors.

One thing is for sure that over the years public school districts and athletic conferences tend to not share information or details of negotiations when it comes to a change in athletic conferences.

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