|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Federal League talks expansion without Massillon

  • With Boardman looking to leave, the Federal League shuns Massillon for now and looks to the north for possible expansion.

    • email print
  • As the Federal League looks to expand and replace Boardman in two years, league leaders aren’t looking to expand in Stark County, and again have isolated Massillon.
    Boardman was accepted into the All American Conference on Wednesday, and while its board of education has yet to approve the move, its likely departure will leave Stark County’s big-school league with just six members.
    Massillon, which already plays half of the remaining league teams and is geographically friendly to travel costs, has not been sent an invitation to talk about expansion.
    “There is some serious interest from folks up north, and we have solicited schools up north. We’re looking to do a two-division format,” said Lake High School principal Kevin Tobin, who chairs the league’s strategic planning committee. “It seems like it could be a possibility. We are awaiting the RSVPs by next Friday to respond for a meeting with the strategic planning committee with interested schools about league expansion in June.”
    Tobin would not say which schools were sent letters, but did say a dozen were sent out. Green is the only school Tobin would confirm as receiving an invitation because district officials have publicly confirmed it.
    However, neither Massillon, nor any other Stark County schools, were invited to the meeting.
    The last time the league expanded in 2003, it did so with McKinley and two schools outside of the county. It didn’t work out very well.
    Fitch left after the 2010-11 school year; now, Boardman is leaving.
    Boardman athletics director Dave Smercansky seemed confident about joining the AAC, but it is not inevitable.
    “The only sticking point again is football,” Smercansky said.
     “With the way the AAC is structured, Boardman, Fitch and Warren Harding would make up tier one. There’s about seven or eight teams in tier two. That means we would play Fitch and Harding every year and have one or two crossover games with tier two. That still leaves us looking for five or six non-league games.
    “With the Federal League, we have six games and have to scramble for four. ... I feel the board will be in favor of it, but that would be the only question mark.”
    Boardman has rejected AAC offers in the past because the league wanted Boardman in all sports except football. Now, it has been granted full membership, but the football piece is somewhat limited. The next Boardman Board of Education meeting is May 27, but Smercansky said there could be a special meeting for the purpose of addressing the league issue.
    Regardless, Boardman will be in the Federal League this fall for all sports and the next year for football. But in the 2015-16 school year, it would be in the AAC.
    Page 2 of 2 - Meanwhile, the Federal League is looking to add more than just Boardman’s replacement. Tobin said league expansion now is similar to college football with the super conferences, and the Federal League is looking to strengthen itself in numbers.
    But that doesn’t include Massillon, or does it?
    “I can’t say we’re not looking at them, and I can’t say we are,” Tobin said. “The reality is, our first charge is looking at some schools we had an interest from north of us. Massillon is in Stark County and a lot of schools play them. At this time, we have not sent any letters to Massillon. Our stance has been we’re looking northward.”
    Massillon plays McKinley, GlenOak and Perry, or half of what’s left of the league. Jason Hall, Massillon’s football coach and athletic director, said his school has expressed interested in joining the Federal League.
    “I don’t know what (superintendent) Rik Goodright and the board’s stance will be on that,” Hall said. “We have shown an interest and presented to (the Federal League) when they’ve been open. Obviously, if they show an interest in us, we would definitely come to the table. We play most of them already. It’s only fitting we would be in that league.”
    Still, Massillon has not been invited to the league’s meeting in June. The league is looking outside of Stark County to find strength.
    “I can’t say we’re not doing that,” Tobin said of interest in Massillon. “We have not extended an invitation to Massillon to be at the meeting at this time, and that won’t happen at this initial meeting in June. ... There’s a lot of work to be done. Even though the RSVP date is next week, the reality is any institution needs to be flexible.”

        calendar