ZANESVILLE, Ohio – When the Muskingum Valley League expanded from nine to 12 teams in April it left Zanesville High School wondering why they weren’t extended an invitation.
The MVL decided to take in Coshocton, River View, and Meadowbrook and split the 80-year-old conference into two six-team divisions. Many Blue Devil fans and administrators were hoping that they would be one of the schools added. At a school board meeting Tuesday, Zanesville superintendent Doug Baker discuses the issues of Zanesville being left out of the league.
He said he thinks there are some misconceptions about Zanesville High School.
“Many years ago we used to gradate 400 or 300. This year’s graduating class is 195. We are much more in line with schools that are currently in the MVL,” said Baker.
If the Blue Devils were admitted to the MVL they would be the league’s second largest school, behind Tri-Valley. They play football in division III, just like three other MVL schools. And their boys basketball team is in DII, the same division as eight of the current 12 league teams.
Baker said that school enrollment is not the only thing that separates Zanesville from the rest of the MVL.
“We are a diverse school district and the other districts are not as diverse as us. I would hope that would be seen as a positive for the MVL,” said Baker.
Baker said that this is the second time since he’s been at Zanesville that they’ve tried to apply to join the MVL. He said he invited MVL Commissioner Scott Welker to Tuesday’s school board meeting to discuses why ZHS was passed over. However, Baker said they have received no responses back from the league.
The three teams that signed to join the MVL stating in the 2020-2021 school year agreed to 10 year contracts. Baker is hoping for some sort of feedback from the MVL so that the next time they consider expansion, Zanesville will know what to do to be a more attractive option.
“I’ve not received any response in any way from the league commissioner or from any of the other superintendents. And that’s part of the frustration. If we are not a good fit this round then tell us what we need to do to improve to be a good fit the next round,” said Baker.
For now Zanesville will stay in the East Central Ohio League which has just five members with the departure of Coshocton, River View, and Meadowbrook.