The Mid-State League likely is headed for realignment, but interim commissioner Jim Hayes doesn't know what the conference will look like after the 2012-13 school year.

The Mid-State League likely is headed for realignment, but interim commissioner Jim Hayes doesn't know what the conference will look like after the 2012-13 school year.

Hayes, who is the athletics director at Teays Valley and chair of the MSL's realignment and expansion committee, believes the league likely will have to add schools.

"We have six schools leaving after the 2012-13 school year and that leaves 18 in the league," said Hayes, who took over on an interim basis after Frank Pergolizzi resigned as MSL commissioner in the spring. "Right now, I wish I knew what we are going to do. There is no clear direction on what we will do."

In the spring, MSL-Ohio Division members Granville, Heath, Lakewood, Licking Valley and Newark Catholic announced they would be leaving to join a re-established Licking County League (LCL). Licking Heights of the MSL-Cardinal also will be leaving for the LCL.

"We could have three six-team divisions (with the 18 remaining schools) or two nine-school divisions, but neither of those has very much support," Hayes said. "A lot of schools are worried about increased travel and competing against new schools that they don't have a history with and they don't know a lot about them. They want competitive balance and they are not sure about new schools."

Schools showing interest in joining the MSL include Chillicothe, Fairfield Christian, Grove City Christian, Logan and Worthington Christian.

Another potential problem comes from the OCC looking to replace Watkins Memorial, which will be joining the six MSL schools in the LCL. OCC commissioner Dave Cecutti said MSL schools looking to fill that void include Bexley, Canal Winchester, Grandview, Hamilton Township, Teays Valley and Whitehall. Chillicothe, Logan and Marion Harding also applied for the OCC as well as Jonathan Alder, which has since joined the Marion County-based Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference (MOAC).

Cecutti said he expects the 32-school OCC to find a replacement for Watkins Memorial in the next few weeks, but there also is a possibility that the conference could expand.

"The one-for-one swap (of a new school to replace Watkins Memorial) is there, but we're also looking into adding another (eight-team) division," Cecutti said. "If it's in our best interest to add a fifth division then it's something we will do.

"I really don't know for sure what direction we will be going, but we are looking into all available options."

Hayes expects the MSL to remain in three divisions, even if only five teams join the conference. That will mean two eight-team divisions and one with seven teams. "We are staying with the possibility of adding five new schools and having 23 teams in the league," Hayes said. "It seems to be the idea with the most support. I think, for the big picture, that's the best scenario."

Bloom-Carroll athletics director Chad Little said it might be time for change if only for the fast growth of suburban schools.

"Licking Heights was outgrowing everyone (in the MSL-Cardinal) and Bloom-Carroll is the smallest school in the MSL-Buckeye," Little said. "When you are going up against (large-enrollment) schools like Canal (Winchester) and Teays Valley, especially in sports like football, you worry about injuries. You have concerns for the well-being of the kids."

As for a timetable for restructuring the MSL, Hayes would like to have things in order by the end of the calendar year.

"My desire, as I shared with athletics directors and superintendents, is to know what we are doing by December," he said. "Doing that will meet the guidelines of our league constitution. We (as a league) can vote on changes in either December or May, and we want to have things in line by December."

At a glance

The Mid-State League will undergo changes after six schools announced in the spring that they will be leaving at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Below is the current alignment:

•MSL-Buckeye — Amanda-Clear-creek, Bloom-Carroll, Canal Winchester, Circleville, Fairfield Union, Hamilton Township, Logan Elm and Teays Valley

•MSL-Cardinal — Berne Union, Fisher Catholic, Grandview, Harvest Prep, Liberty Union, *Licking Heights, Millersport and West Jefferson

•MSL-Ohio — Bexley, Columbus Academy, *Granville, *Heath, *Lakewood, *Licking Valley, *Newark Catholic and Whitehall

*Leaving MSL after 2012-13 school year