The Press Box for August 12
Bruce Crawford and I made the trip up to Belmont College to the OVAC sports media night on Thursday, last week. Each year they hold a meeting for media and sports writers. It was sursprising to see only nine total people in attendance and one of them was the OVAC director, Dirk DeCoy.
The meeting always starts off with a nice catered meal and this year was no different. The big thing I like about attending the meeting is the wealth of information you pick up concerning rule changes, new coaches and A.D.’s.
It’s amazing that 18,599 students from 50 schools belong to this conference. There are five classifications ranging from 1A which starts with 59 students in the smallest school to 149 in the largest school. 2A starts with 155 students athlets and tops off at 220. 3A goes from 222 to 336. 4A from 366 to 496, and 5A starts with 522 and ends with the largest school in the conference Morgantown with 1445. Each Class now has 10 schools in their division with Class 1A looking to pick up one more if St. Johns Central Academy is accepted into membership. They will be the smallest of all schools.
Changes from last year has several schools dropping down in class and a few moving up. For example Indian Creek and Weirton each dropped from 5A to 4A and Steubenville Catholic and Wellsville fell from 2A to 1A. Frontier moves up to 1A to 2A. River dropped from 3A to 2A, while Buckeye Local and Martins Ferry dropped down one class from 4A to 3A. Union Local moved from 3A to 4A. Crestview dropped out of the league as did Meadowbrook. Those moves are according to how many students are enrolled in each school.
The Conference has been in existence since 1943 (77) years and has served the athletes all over the area very well. Each year they give out scholarships to many kids and this season one of their goals is to double the amount of scholarships awarded.
Highlights of the conference each year includes all-star games in most sports, the giant OVAC Ron Mack wrestling tournament, and the annual All-Star football classic. Also they sponsor youth clinics, cheerleading competitions, the Queen of Queens competiton, officiials training classes, McDonalds All-Star Band, hall of fame members, the benefits of such a conference is unlimited. The newest sport to be added to the conference was an adition last season and proved to be a huge success. The sport is bowling and has 17 schools participating.
The OVAC is a hard working conference and is the largest high school conference in the country. They work year round trying to bring quality events to the area for not only the athletes and the participating schools, but for all sports fans.
With the COVID-19 impacting just about everything, the conference is well aware that all there hard work could be layed aside, but their expectations and planning for the 2020-2021 season is right on target.
One point of discussion on Thursday, was why the turnout for the media night is so low in attendance. I can remember when it was hard to find a seat and if you didn’t get there early enough you might not get to eat. There are many answers to that question and many excuses, but I believe we’ve come to the point where it’s more important than ever to show our support as writers of the conference events and to understand that they depend on us as much as we depend on them.
In order to make anything successful, you must work hard to draw attention to what goes on. In the past several months the sports pages in the papers have been relatively empty. Maybe one page or two at the most and not much at all about local high schools. Sports writers need to fill the pages with stories on athletes past and present. Parents and kids still want to see their names and pictures in the paper.
We can’t set back and wait on it to come to us we have to go to the events and get the information. Let them know we’re interested. That’s how you develop a relationship with coaches and athletes. You just can’t do it all over the phone, it’s called a personal relationship where you become familiar with each other and you eard their respect as they earn yours.
That’s what I use to like about the OVAC media day. We met other writers, we came to know the Director and commissioners, and they presented us with good ideas and informations and in turn we asked questions and gave them things to think about. There are hard working people in the OVAC conference and their goal has always been to have the best conference possible for the schools and athletes.
Even if your school is a member of another conference, do your best to make it a good conference and a great experience. Keep your local paper informed of the activities within your conference and hold them accountable to cover your events. Every child that takes part in a sporting event or other extracurricular activity deserves recognition.
Our roll as sportswriters and journalists is to do the absolute best we can to cover local, regional and world events, but are allegiance lies within our territory. I hope that the school year of 2020-21 is a success. Not just in sports, but even more so in acadenics, because there-in lies the future of of nation.
Support your community, your schools, your teachers, your children and be a helper not a hindrence. Good luck and may God bless as we prepare for another season of local activitiy. firstname.lastname@example.org