Niles, Lakeview, Hubbard and Liberty are no longer contemplating leaving the All-American Conference. Rather, they will be leaving.
AAC commissioner Clem Zumpella said he received an official letter April 4 stating all four schools are leaving the conference following the 2009-10 season - following the second year of the conference's existence under a three-tier format. The AAC is a combination of the old Trumbull Athletic Conference-8 and the Metro Athletic Conference with Beaver Local being added in the mix.
He said there is a scheduled principal's meeting later this month and foresees a superintendent's meeting as well to discuss the recent developments.
"At this point and time, it changes the complexion of the league and what direction we want to go," Zumpella said.
Lakeview Athletic Director Mike DeToro and Hubbard Athletic Director Bill Agona said the two schools are in dissolution with many things in the AAC.
"If no change has taken place, we're looking to leave after this upcoming school year," DeToro said.
Agona agrees with DeToro.
"There's a myriad of things. There is not one single thing," Agona said.
Lakeview, Liberty and Hubbard are in the White Tier, the middle of the AAC with Salem and Struthers. Niles is in the Red Tier with Poland, Canfield, Howland and Beaver Local. Campbell, Champion, Girard, Newton Falls, LaBrae and Brookfield are in the Blue Tier - the smallest of the three.
Some complaints are about the scheduling situations, others about re-alignment. According to the AAC bylaws, total re-alignment takes place every four years.
Also, the Ohio High School Athletic Association recently released its enrollment figures for the next two years. Lakeview took a big hit - losing 71 boys.
Hubbard remained about the same. Liberty and Niles lost some, but not as many as Lakeview.
Zumpella understands where these schools are coming from.
"Every school has their own agenda to what they feel is best for their school," he said. "I respect that."
Warren G. Harding, along with Massillon, have to play the waiting game.
The Raiders and Tigers are hoping to be the ninth and 10th teams added to the Stark County-based Federal League.
Harding Athletic Director Paul Trina said Harding and Massillon have expressed interest in joining the league.
Athletic directors from the existing eight schools - Canton McKinley, GlenOak, Massillon Jackson, Massillon Perry, North Canton Hoover, Uniontown Lake, Austintown Fitch and Boardman - along with Federal League Commissioner Joe Eaton will meet on April 20. The following day an expansion committee will gather.
"They hold the cards if Massillon and Harding fill out a formal application," said Trina, who was informed Monday Harding and Massillon were being considered for Federal League expansion.
Going into the Federal League would be a great fit for the Raiders.
"As far as a league, it would be a phenomenal Division I conference," Trina said.
However, the current Federal League members and the expansion committee have to agree to extend a formal invitation to Harding and Massillon.
Once that happens, Harding must do its own exploratory process to see if the Federal League is right for the Raiders' sports programs.
Then, if both programs get to that point, a final decision will be made in August. If Massillon and Harding are accepted, the two would begin Federal League play starting with the 2011-12 season.
Then, and only then, can you start talking about how powerful the Federal League will be.
"We're even premature to talk about this," Trina said.