By SETH STASKEY
The Buckeye 8 has announced its plans to expand.
Beaver Local and East Liverpool are officially joining the league, starting in the 2014-15 school year.
Along with the official newcomers, both Bellaire and Union Local have elected to remain in the league after both had formally submitted their letters of withdrawl.
Thus, the league's total stands at 10 teams as it prepares to move to a North and South format.
However, similar to some of the major collegiate conferences in America, the Buckeye 8 name - regardless of the number of teams - isn't changing.
League officials voted, 9-1, in favor of keeping the name "Buckeye 8" in place even after the Beavers and Potters formally join the league.
"The Buckeye 8 has a total of 10 high schools, but the Big 10 has 14 colleges and it's still called the Big 10," said Buckeye 8 President Steve Cowser, who is the principal at Indian Creek High School.
To reflect the addition of the schools, the logo of the league will be altered to include all 10 schools.
Once the two new members come in fully next school year, the league will split into a North and South format.
The south will consist of Bellaire, Harrison Central, Martins Ferry, St. Clairsville and Union Local. The north will include Buckeye Local, Beaver Local, East Liverpool, Edison and Indian Creek.
"As the Buckeye 8 continues to grow, the bonding of the high schools will promote great competition and sportsmanship among the local schools," Cowser said.
Once the league separates, there will be a divisional champion and an overall champion in all sports except for football. Football will strictly crown divisional champions.