United CMC-MVAL is nearly a reality

By 9-1 vote, CMC officials OK plan to meld parts, create league of 22 teams

Conferences

High Schools

May 15, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A vote last night cleared a major hurdle for the creation of a 22-team high school athletic conference, combining current and future members of the Central Maryland Conference and Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

Under the plan, the 19 teams that currently make up the two leagues will make up the new league. Also included will be two schools slated to open in Carroll and Frederick counties and Washington County's Clear Spring, currently an independent. The league will take the MVAL name, and begin play in the fall of 2003.

CMC officials voted 9-1 to accept the plan, which has been bantered about for several years. The existing MVAL, which already has voted in favor of the merger, will vote on the specifics of the final plan next week.

"My perception of it is that it's a done deal," said CMC president John Seaman, the principal of Westminster.

The new league would be divided into two conferences, the Chesapeake and Antietam, each divided into two divisions based on school size and location. Since the nine-team CMC is comprised almost entirely of Class 4A and 3A schools - the largest two classifications - and the 10-team MVAL consists of all 2A and 1A schools, most teams should continue to play similar schedules.

Nonetheless, the move will have a large impact in Carroll County, where Century, Liberty, North Carroll, South Carroll and Westminster are current members of the CMC, while Francis Scott Key is a member of the MVAL. Due to league schedule commitments, Key only sporadically plays its fellow county teams during the regular season.

Both leagues voted to move forward on the plan in separate votes in November. Over the past several months, a joint committee, chaired by Urbana assistant principal Perry Baker, came up with proposals for league alignments, bylaws and even a possible schedule.

Committee member Jim Horn, athletic director at South Carroll, said some have expressed fear that the CMC will lose its identity, along with its name.

There were several factors that made the plan palatable, including last fall's addition of Carroll County's Century High - which currently plays a JV schedule in most sports - this fall's opening of Carroll's Winters Mill High and the planned opening of a new central Frederick County high school in 2003.

Shrinking athletic budgets also played a role. Currently, schools in Carroll County often must travel to surrounding counties to fill early-season schedules.

"One of the goals of combining the leagues is to limit the distance that schools have to travel," Seaman said.

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