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The Suburbanite
  • Green to join Federal League

  • After a summer of researching its two options, Green Local Schools has decided to leave the Suburban League and become a member of the Federal League in the 2015-16 school year.

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  • There will be another Bulldog in the Federal League. Green High School has decided to up its competitive ante and join the league in two years.
    It took most of the summer for Green to come to a conclusion on whether it would leave the Suburban League for the Federal League, but the day before most of Stark County’s schools start, Superintendent Jeffrey Miller II announced his decision. Miller will recommend the move to the board of education at Monday night’s meeting.
    Green will join McKinley, Lake, Jackson, Perry, GlenOak and Hoover to make a seven-team league in two years.
    “After careful deliberation, I am excited to announce my recommendation to the Green Board of Education to join the Federal League in 2015-16,” Miller said in a statement.
    “The impetus for the decision was providing our student-athletes with the best possible experience. Our school system views athletes as an extension of the classroom and we are committed to pursuing excellence in the classroom, in the athletic arena, and in our performing arts programs.”
    The Federal League is losing Boardman after this school year as a competitive member. It will play a league schedule in football for the 2013-14 school year, but not compete for league championships or individual honors.
    That left the league with six Stark County schools. Earlier this summer, the league invited several schools to attend an expansion meeting.
    Green was the only school that seemed to seriously entertain the thought of coming into the Federal League.
    “That’s great news,” Federal League commissioner Joe Eaton said of Green’s decision. “I’m not surprised. After our last meeting we had with them, I felt very confident leaving that meeting. I knew they had to educate their community and coaches. They thought this through and through, and felt strongly this was in the best interest of their student-athletes and community. It’s a win-win for us and them.”
    Green was a 64-year charter member of the Suburban League.
    During a Suburban League meeting Tuesday, Green notified that league’s members of its intentions in person before releasing the news.
    “We certainly understand their position and wish them the best,” Suburban League commissioner Keith Walker said. “That’s all I’m going to comment on at this point.”
    In six of the last 10 years, Green won the All-Sports trophy in the Suburban League.
    But in football, the Bulldogs have not won more than six games the last five years. During that same period, Green has played three Federal League schools (Jackson, Lake and GlenOak) and is 2-8 in those games.
    The Federal League is considered by most coaches to be a superior football and basketball league than the Suburban League. Becoming competitive against the Federal League will be Green’s challenge.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We analyzed our athletic department from every angle and felt that this was the right time to join the Federal League,” Miller’s statement read.
    Miller did not return phone calls seeking comment.
    Green administrators expressed concern about dwindling athletic revenues from Suburban League games. Eaton said Green’s athletic department operated in the red last school year.
    “Gate receipts from two Federal League (football) games will make up that deficit,” Eaton said. “They’re looking at their home gate increasing tremendously.”
    Since 1987, seven schools have joined the Federal League, and four of them were from Stark County. However, only Lake and McKinley have stayed in the league. Timken and Alliance both left, along with Wooster and New Philadelphia. Most recently, Fitch and Boardman, which joined with McKinley in 2003, have left. Fitch left after the 2010-11 school year, and Boardman will exit after the current school year.
    That left the league with just six teams (Lake, Hoover, McKinley, GlenOak, Jackson and Perry).
    “What we do is stay a seven-team league right now,” Eaton said. “We do have another school that is interested (Massillon). Right now, we go to the table and decide what do we do. Do we stay at seven teams or do we continue to look for that eighth team? Those are the questions we have to ask right now.
    “We came into this hoping to have a seven-team league in two years. That was our goal.”
    But that goal changed. Actually, the goal was to have a two-division conference with teams north of Stark County. However, Green is the only school that took up the Federal League on its expansion offer.
    Reach Todd at 330-580-8340 or
    todd.porter@cantonrep.com
    On Twitter: @tporterREP