Louisville, a member of the Northeastern Buckeye Conference since 1989, will face independent status in the 2018-19 school year.

LOUISVILLE  Louisville won't be re-joining the Federal League after all.

A week after Louisville High School Principal Ken Faye and Athletic Director John Twinem recommended that Louisville seek to join the seven-member conference, the Leopards withdrew their letter of interest.

The school district issued a press release about the decision on Wednesday afternoon, writing: "At this point, we don’t believe Louisville is prepared to make a decision about joining the league if an offer would be extended to us. If an invitation would be offered to us in the future, to become a member of the league, we see it as a long term commitment on our part and want to be prepared for that transition. We are going to work with our administrators, coaches and the community to develop a strategic plan for our student-athletes because we see this as a needed step in the process."

Louisville Superintendent Michele Shaffer did not return a message seeking comment.

Federal League Commissioner Joe Eaton said the conference was not looking to expand and is satisfied with its seven members. In addition to Lake, the Federal League consists of GlenOak, Green, Hoover, Jackson, McKinley and Perry.

"We're very happy, very content," Eaton said after attending the Federal League's strategic planning committee meeting on Wednesday. "We never really got to the point of accepting them or not. When we got the letter (of interest), we shared it with the administrators at our meeting but never really got past Step 1."

When asked if the Federal League would be interested in the Leopards in the future considering they rescinded their letter so quickly, Eaton said, "I can't really answer that. Who knows what's going to happen down the road? The important thing for us is that the league is very strong and we're very proud of the seven members we have."

The Leopards, a member of the Northeastern Buckeye Conference since 1989, will face independent status in the 2018-19 school year due to a decision made by the seven other NBC member schools to form a new league without them. Those seven schools will compete with Canfield South Range in the Eastern Buckeye Conference beginning in the fall of 2018. 

Louisville, which was a member of the Federal League between 1968 to 1989, would have been the smallest school in the Federal League, trailing Lake by about 200 students, according to the most recent enrollment figures provided by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The high school is less than half the size of McKinley, Jackson and GlenOak — the Federal's largest schools.


By contrast, Louisville is now just the third-largest school in the NBC, by boys enrollment, in the latest OHSAA figures, which were released Monday.

The figures count students in grades 9-11 as of October, 2016.


The Leopards had 309 boys — 42 fewer than their 2014 total — while Alliance had 332 and Marlington 320. Louisville still has the largest girls enrollment with 358, with Alliance second (290) and Marlington third (284). Canton South, Carrollton, Minerva, Salem and West Branch are also in the NBC.

Reach Joe at 330-580-8573 or joe.scalzo@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @jscalzoREP