You Are Cordially Invited..
It was announced this past Friday that the Lehigh Valley Conference invited the Mountain Valley Conference (except for Lehighton) to join them in the creation of an 18-team super conference, tentatively maintaining the LVC name. And to do it by next season!
With Lehighton moving to the Anthracite League in football and the Schuylkill League in most other sports, the MVC was looking at the scheduling nightmare that goes along with just a 6-team league. Ironically, just a few months ago, the MVC invited the LVC to merge with them, but the request was not made to Central Catholic or Bethlehem Catholic. By omitting those two schools in the initial invitation, it gave the LVC the opportunity to “remind” both schools (particularly Beca) that there could be consequences to very overt recruiting. The message was delivered and the invitation was not accepted.
So now, the MVC has been “cordially invited” to join the LVC, bringing all the schools together. In terms of football and basketball, there are certainly plusses and minuses.
On the “plus” side, the super conference will now include all the AAAA schools in District XI. The merger would bring Allen and Dieruff back into the Lehigh Valley football picture and I certainly like that. By merging, all teams would battle for their spots in the District and State playoffs. This eliminates the complaint that some MVC teams got better seeding or easier qualifying because they played a much weaker schedule. Certainly, with 18 teams, the scheduling still may slightly favor one team over another, but that happens now. Also, the MVC will have no trouble filling their schedule.
On the “minus” side, an 18 team conference can certainly look a bit unwieldy when it does come to scheduling. In football, do you create two 9-team divisions and play for a championship? That sounds like a reasonable idea. In basketball, 3 divisions seem to be the best approach, but, if you play your division foes twice and the other teams once, you have the allotted 22 games filled. From there, a championship tournament could certainly be created. Even the “minuses” do not seem so bad.
Although I argued a few months ago, that the LVC was just fine the way it was and did not need to accept the MVC invitation, I do believe the “return to sender” invitation makes sense. I am quite certain the RSVP from the MVC will include acceptance. The nightmare will be for the AD’s to figure out the scheduling for all the other sports. And for a Sports Director at RCN to choose which League games to schedule for our viewers!!