We are up what I ranked as the #2 sports story of 2016. Perhaps this should be #1?
2- Goodbye COC- Hello Big 8
This one is so recent you would not have to look very far back to see my original story on it.
For a couple of years we have known that the Small Central Ozarks Conference was on it last legs. At the end of last school year the announcements that Hollister and Buffalo had given notice that they were leaving. That pretty much ended any small chance of survival.
The speculations flew for a while, what would happen to the schools? Where would they go? There were talks of forming a new conference. But noting solid ever came of it.
Buffalo joined the newly formed Ozarks Highlands Conference. Hollister had discussions about the possibility of finding another league but were prepared to go at it as an independent if necessary. They still held hope that something would be worked out.
In mid to late fall the Big Eight Conference started exploring expansion possibilities. Not sure many at the time saw this big of a thing coming..
In December it was announced that Reeds Spring, Hollister, Springfield Catholic, Marshfield, and Logan-Rogersville would join the new Big Eight along with Nevada. The move leaves only Bolivar without a league to call home.
It looks like the fourteen team league will be split into two divisions: east and west. The five former COC schools will join Aurora and Mt Vernon in the east while Nevada joins Lamar, East Newton, Monett, McDonald County, Cassville, and Seneca in the west.
The scheduling decisions are yet to be made and meetings are set for January to begin to hammer that out. But, the league is set to go, as all school boards have given approval.
Its a new day for high school sports in southwest Missouri. The New League will begin play in the 2018-2019 school year.
The Wolves and Tigers will continue to play in the COC the remainder of this school year and all of next year.