Local schools taking overtures from Federal League, Suburban League and Northeast Ohio Conference

Published:

by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor

Every so often, local high schools tend to re-assess their places in local leagues and possibly switch leagues.

It appears another round of league switches might be coming soon.

Three of the largest local high school conferences -- the Northeast Ohio Conference, the Suburban League and the Federal League -- recently hosted meetings with schools to discuss potential expansion.

Numerous Record Publishing Co. area schools were invited to those meetings.

According to Suburban League commissioner Keith Walker, the league hosted a meeting June 11 to discuss potential expansion. Medina, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, North Royalton, Hudson, Stow-Munroe Falls, Twinsburg, Kent Roosevelt, Ravenna, Aurora, Kenston and Barberton attended the meeting.

Norton was not able to attend, but Walker indicated it may be interested in joining.

Walker said each school was a given a questionnaire inquiring about their interest in membership. The deadline for those packets to be returned is July 1.

Walker said the league had the meeting to be "proactive" with regard to possible school movement.

"The goal is to do what's best for the league," Walker said. "If the Federal League had not made overtures to Green, we might not have done this."

The Federal League hosted its own informational meeting for potential expansion June 12 at Fawcett Stadium.

Attending were Green, Wadsworth, Aurora, Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Twinsburg and Barberton. Solon, Hudson and Kenston were invited, but did not attend.

The Federal League league currently includes Uniontown Lake, North Canton Hoover, Massillon Jackson, Massillon Perry, Canton GlenOak, Canton McKinley and Boardman, though Boardman has received an invitation to join the Mahoning Valley-based All-American Conference.

Massillon Washington is not being invited to join the Federal League.

According to Joe Eaton, Federal League commissioner, the schools have until July 15 to let the league know their interest.

Meanwhile, the NOC hosted its informational meeting June 19 at Lake Forrest County Club in Hudson.

According to NOC commissioner Dan Gerome, Aurora, Kenston, Willoughby South, Eastlake North, Brecksville, North Ridgeville, Bay and Rocky River were in attendance. Middleburg Heights Midpark, Green, Wadsworth and Medina Highland were invited, but did not attend.

Gerome said applications for membership would be due June 30.

Aurora and Kenston could be searching for a new league after 10 members of the Chagrin Valley Conference announced earlier this month they would leave the CVC after the 2014-15 school year.

Gerome said he wants to keep this process open and public.

"It's not a secret, by the way," Gerome said. "We're looking to expand. We might go to a fourth division. We have always talked about that since the beginning [of the league].

"People are looking to do what's best for their schools," Gerome said. "Everybody tries to posture. I would just like to get an even number to join us. An odd number screws up football."

Walker said, as of now, he has no set direction with how the Suburban League will expand.

"After [schools return the surveys], we will take the next step in accessing what direction will go with those schools," Walker said. "I don't know what direction that's going to be.

"I would say its going to be at least mid-August until make any moves at all. Everybody is waiting to see what everybody else does."

Gerome agreed with Walker that the entire situation could rest on who moves first.

"It kind of depends on how things fall," Gerome said. "Someone is going to have to extend formal membership to a school and everybody will probably react from there."

Walked noted every option will be considered by the Suburban League to maintain its viability.

"We have a relatively wide distance between our members in terms of enrollment," Walker said. "Just thinking out loud, we thought if we expanded, we could have a big school and a small school division."

Both Gerome and Walker said, as of press time, no formal declarations had been made by any school to leave their respective leagues.

The Suburban League currently includes Tallmadge, Nordonia, Wadworth, Green, Highland, Revere, Cloverleaf and Copley.

The NOC currently includes Brush, Brunswick, Cuyahoga Falls, Elyria, Garfield Heights, Hudson, Mayfield, Mentor, Medina, Normandy, North Royalton, Parma Senior, Shaker Heights, Solon, Stow, Strongsville, Twinsburg and Valley Forge.

Despite the expansion talks, Gerome said the NOC is not attempting become a super conference in the manner of the Columbus-based Ohio Capital Conference.

Gerome said the fact the NOC organizes its three divisions on a sport-by-sport basis might be an advantage.

"We think we have a great thing," Gerome said. "We're having teams that never win anything win championships.

"It's working in that regard. It's not making some people happy because of the travel, which I understand."

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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