The Patriot Athletic Conference could be no more within the next three years.
At a Dec. 13 meeting of school officials, all eight Lorain County PAC teams made a joint decision to start a new conference beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, leaving Buckeye, Brooklyn, Fairview, and Lutheran West on the outside looking in.
Black River, which has a district stretching across Lorain, Medina, and Ashland counties, is also part of the new conference coalition.
While the move has yet to be made official, Oberlin athletic director John Carter said it is very likely at this point.
He cited the member schools’ geographic locations as well as the desire for teams like Oberlin and Wellington to compete every year as prime motivators. As it stands with the PAC’s current schedule rotation, the two schools’ football teams would play consecutive years but then not again for four years.
The PAC was formed in 2005 with Oberlin, Wellington, and Black River as founding members.
“I think this is going to be great for Oberlin and our rivalries,” he said. “In football, to be able to play Wellington and Firelands every year is great. In basketball, we can play these teams at home and on the road. With us being in the PAC Stripes division, we were missing a lot of those Lorain County rivalries.”
Carter said Oberlin plans to withdraw from the PAC with an official letter next month and that the process of leaving was formally put together within the past month.
“I think the decision to not involve those four schools is a combination of a lot of things,” he said. “Buckeye was one of the biggest schools involved. Buckeye has 307 boys and we have 121. It’s a big difference in size. One of the things we talked about was the big schools versus the small schools. There’s been a lot of conversations before this final proposal came in front of everyone.”
The change is expected to leave a more balanced playing field, but there are still some power schools.
For instance, Firelands, stretching north through South Amherst and into Amherst, and west into Erie County, dominates on the football field. Keystone has long been a nearly-invincible softball juggernaut.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.