While the words expansion and realignment have become commonly used when discussing the ever- changing landscape known as NCAA Division I football, their use when it comes to the local high school scene has been nominal.
Now, it appears as though one of the Mountain State's oldest conferences-the Little Kanawha Conference-will add at least one new member for the 2013-14 season and could add a second member prior to the opening of the 2014-15 campaign.
Administrators representing Webster County attended Monday's meeting in Ripley and successfully petitioned the 14 members for admission. Thus, the school located in Upperglade, will begin active participation in the league in the spring of 2014.
The last two programs to be added to the small schools conference were South Harrison, which was a member from 1979-81, and Tyler Consolidated in 2007. They joined current members Braxton County (1994), Calhoun County (1946), Clay County (1993), Doddridge County (1957), Gilmer County (1968), Parkersburg Catholic (1955), Ravenswood (1946), Ritchie County (1986), Roane County (1993), Saint Marys (1946), Williamstown (1947) and Wirt County (1946).
Write any story concerning the history of the LKC and you can bet that you will be corrected if you make a mistake. That happened in Monday's edition and thanks to Jim Hamric, who served as the head football coach and athletics director at both Spencer and Roane County before taking over the AD position at Parkersburg High, and Robert Bonar, I received my latest history lesson concerning the LKC.
Founded on Dec. 13, 1946, the LKC crowned its first champion in basketball the following spring. Members at the meeting to form the conference included Cairo, Calhoun County, Harrisville, Pennsboro, Ravenswood, Ripley, Sistersville, St. Marys and Wirt County.
Spencer, Tyler County, Walton and Williamstown joined shortly thereafter and were considered charter members.
The landscape surrounding the conference has changed over the years-primarily due to consolidation-as former members Cairo (1946-71), Gilmore (1949-65), Glenville (1953-68), Harrisville (1946-86), Normantown (1953-68), Pennsboro (1946-86), Ripley (1946-87), Saint Joseph Prep (c. 1978-1987), Sand Fork (1953-68), Sistersville (1946-93), Spencer (1947-93), Tanner (1953-68), Troy (1953-68), Tyler County (1947-c. 1991), Wahama (1961-73, 1983-90, 1997-99) and Walton (1947-93) were either swallowed up in the 'consolidation' craze or, in the case of the Vikings, grew to Class AAA size and elected to move to another conference.
My lesson continued as I was informed that Glenville, Sand Fork, Troy and Normantown were the schools that joined to form the new Gilmer County school (1968) and that students that attended Gilmore High School located in Sandyville in Jackson County were dispersed into Ripley and Ravenswood when that school closed.
Whether or not this will be the last expansion by the LKC is anyone's guess. Just like fans are waiting to see what the next wave of realignment has in store for their favorite conferences.
One thing is for sure, however. Change is inevitable.
We may not agree with it, but that's a topic for another column.