Two members of the Central Ozark Conference will depart to join a new league — the Ozark Mountain Conference. Branson and Carl Junction will be part of the new conference, according to statements from the Branson and West Plains school districts. Branson, Carl Junction, and West Plains will all join the new league in the fall of 2024, along with Marshfield, Logan-Rogersville, and Bolivar.
More developments involving the remaining members of the COC are expected. For now, the most pressing implication may be a shakeup in the football schedule for Republic and other COC members. The 10-team membership of the league in most recent seasons has meant all nine regular-season opponents were set.
Branson is one of the original six members of the COC, established in 1966, with competition beginning in 1967. With Branson’s departure, Republic and Willard are the only remaining schools from that initial roster.
New Ozark Mountain members Bolivar and Marshfield were also charter members of the COC.