The merger of the Lehigh Valley Conference and the MVC has been rumored for quite some time and it finally was agreed upon last year. Since then, very little has emerged from the situation, which has left much uncertainty.
Last week, a report surfaced that the new league would be called the EPIC 18, with EPIC standing for Eastern Pennsylvania Interscholastic Conference.
Parkland Athletic Director, Jeff Geisel, denies that report:
“I can’t tell you what the conference name is, because it hasn’t been approved yet, but it is definitely not the EPIC 18. I don’t know where that came from, but that is not correct.”
Geisel did not confirm nor deny that the name EPIC 18 was discussed, however.
Although this is a lot of change coming for the Lehigh Valley athletic scene, Geisel feels it won’t make much of a difference to Parkland.
“As one of the largest enrollments in the new league, it won’t affect us much,” said Geisel. “We play the closer, bigger schools such as Pleasant Valley and the Pocono Mountain schools as a non-league game in many sports. Now they will just be league games.”
Geisel did note that the “mountain” schools and the “Lehigh Valley” schools will still be separated, as the league wants them to be split the best way geographically for divisions.
It has been rumored that, in football, the former MVC schools will be in a nine-team division along with Allen, Dieruff and Bethlehem Catholic.
On the hardwood, there will be three six-team divisions with one including all six former MVC schools. A school would play 16 league games in a given season, 10 of those contests would be divisional and then six games with teams from the other divisions.
One major change would affect the district playoffs as the MVC league champion used to receive one of the top seeds for being a league winner. They will lose that now as they are all in one league. As Geisel pointed out, “It will allow for truly the best teams to be involved in the postseason.”
Skeptics worry that the different atmospheres and attitudes of the LVC and MVC will clash and lead to the league’s demise. There will be a lot of meetings and a lot of decisions to be made before it is officially rolled out in June, but hopefully the decision makers don’t forget one thing through it all. All of this is supposed to be about the student athletes.
Indians To Settle In Schuylkill League
As 18 different schools will be settling into a new league this fall, Lehighton will be cozying into their new digs as a member of the Schuylkill League.
The Indians will be competing in the closely-knit league as they are departing the soon-to-be defunct Mountain Valley Conference, however, their decision to leave was made before the formation of the ‘superconference.’
“The school district, coaches, and athletes are excited to join the Schuylkill League,” said Lehighton Athletic Director, Kyle Spotts.
The 22-league team will allow the Indians to face their geographic neighbors.
“It will present the district with a tremendous opportunity to renew local rivalries in games with Jim Thorpe, Panther Valley, and Tamaqua in all sports and also allow us to play programs in league play that we will see come district playoffs,” Spotts said.
Most Schuylkill League football teams compete in the Anthracite League, which is known for its hard-nosed pigskin games. Competing in that style of play will suit the Indians well.
Spotts commented on the additional benefits of being a member of the Schuylkill League:
“Both leagues [Schuylkill and Anthracite] present school districts with passionate fan bases that travel to their events,” he said. “This will help in the ticket revenue as well. The league presented the district with an opportunity to play in an extremely competitive league with local schools that are similar to our district.”
Spotts did admit that a downfall to joining the Schuylkill League is having to play an independent schedule for field hockey and boys’ tennis, as they are not official league sports recognized by the Schuylkill League.
The Indians will join the “large school” division in the Schuylkill League.