The Cumberland Pirates along with 14 other schools have created and joined the Lincoln Prairie Conference Tuesday.

The 15 schools that will make up the LPC announced an intended exit from the Little Okaw Valley Conference in December of 2017, leaving just Martinsville, Oblong, Hutsonville and Palestine.

In a press release issued by LPC resident and Okaw Valley High School principal Matthew Shoaff, announced Arcola, Argenta-Oreana, Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond, Bement, Blue Ridge, Cerro Gordo, Decatur-LSA, Heritage, Kansas, Oakland, Shiloh, Okaw Valley, Sangamon Valley and Villa Grove voted unanimously on the name Lincoln Prairie Conference.

“We are all excited to move forward with the new conference and look forward to providing excellence in academics and athletics,’ Shoaff said.

Villa Grove and Heritage started by announcing the intent to leave the conference, followed by 13 other member schools in the following days.

“Moving on with what they were wanting to do was creating a 10-team closed football conference,” said Cumberland athletic director and boys head basketball coach Justin Roedl. “That’s great when it comes to scheduling teams we’ve played in the last few years.

“It was advantageous to keep them on our football schedule and not have to worry about finding bye weeks and finding opponents with the same bye week as you. It was going to be a nightmare scheduling-wise with just three or four teams.”

“I don’t think it’s going to change too much,” said Cumberland head football coach Lucas Watkins. “It’s a lot of the same teams we always had the crossover with the Northwest part of the conference. Now those teams are just included. Everybody will play everybody and that will give some stability to the conference.”

The conference will officially begin at the start of the 2019-20 school year.