When the Ohio Capital Conference makes its debut for the 2016-17 high school sports campaign, it will have a completely new look with five divisions and 35 member schools compared to the four-division, 32-team format when the OCC arrived on the scene when the conference was formed in 1966.
Big Walnut, a charter member of the OCC, will be aligned with Canal Winchester, Franklin Heights, Groveport, New Albany and Newark in the six-team Capital Division. Missing is charter member Mount Vernon which moved to the Ohio Cardinal Conference which features Mansfield area schools. The Yellow Jackets will be the largest school in the Ohio Cardinal. Newark, moving from the OCC Capital, will be the largest of the six schools in the realigned Capital Division.
With the reshuflling, Big Walnut’s Golden Eagles lost two longtime athletic rivals in Olentangy and Delaware Hayes. And the Buckeye Division will be dominated by three schools from the Olentangy District and three from the Westerville District.
OCC Commissioner Dave Cecutti developed the the five-division plan which includes four six-team divisions and one with eight teams. and to help fill football schedules, he developed a crossover scheduling system
The 2016-17 Ohio Capital Conference’s four divisions will include the following schools in the five-division alignment:
• Ohio Division — Gahanna, Reynoldsburg, Lancaster, Grove City, Pickerington Central, Pickerington North;
• Buckeye Division — Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange, Westerville Central, Westerville North, Westerville South;
• Capital Division — BIG WALNUT, Canal Winchester, Franklin Heights, Groveport, New Albany, Newark;
• Cardinal Division — Delaware Hayes, Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby, Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne ;
• Central Division — Central Crossing, Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Davidson, Marysville, Westland, Upper Arlington.
Gary Henery may be reached at 740-413-0906.