In truth, the fact Ashtabula County’s seven Ohio High School Athletic Association member schools are in this situation is no one’s fault but their own, though not the fault of the people currently in charge of the districts.
Years ago, decades, in fact, there were plans to bring Jefferson, PV and GV into the arms of the NEC and form a big-school, small-school configuration.
That would have allowed the larger schools in the NEC — namely, Madison and Riverside and, eventually, Lakeside and Geneva — to play whom they wanted to play in terms of the always-dominant monolith in terms of league affiliation and scheduling — football.
In turn, it would allow the smaller schools, ones that want no part of playing against schools that size on the gridiron, to do the same.
However, the men in charge of many of the NEC schools at that time were the fat cats, sitting pretty, if you will, saying “we don’t need them. We’re fine.”
Hmmmm. How’s that working now?
It’s not, and it’s the people in charge of the districts now who are left trying to put the pieces back together.
That didn’t work for Humpty Dumpty. Who knows if it would work, now?
What Ashtabula County needs is someone with credibility, who is respected, though not necessarily liked, by all seven OHSAA member districts, to step to the fore.
That person must not only have a plan for the present, but a vision for the future.
He or she has certainly heard the rumors of some cracks forming in the PAC, with Geneva and Lakeside perhaps being willing to consider some other options, at this point.
There is talk Harvey is not exactly thrilled by being mauled on the gridiron in the CVC.
Jefferson and Edgewood have a home in the AAC, as do PV and GV in the NAC, though PV does have the option to join Jefferson and Edgewood in the AAC. But they’d almost certainly be willing to listen to anything anyone has to say. There are rumors running rampant that another former NEC member school, St. John, will be reapplying for membership in the OHSAA, perhaps even this summer.
As for Conneaut? All the district’s leaders are waiting for is a lifeline.
Will one ever be cast its way?
I mean, all that’s at stake is what’s best for our young people, after all.
That’s all. No biggie.
The kids at Conneaut are no different than anywhere else. All they are asking for is a chance, an opportunity to experience the same opportunities as their peers.
Almost three decades ago, Harvey went to court and threatened its way into a conference, and the people of the NEC — most of whom were in charge of schools from Ashtabula County — did the right thing, stepped up and took Harvey in.
And the relationship lasted for 20 years, a relative lifetime in this day and age.
Conneaut hasn’t gone that avenue... it shouldn’t have to and Lord knows what grounds it would have to do so, anyway.
Question is, does anyone have enough energy, enthusiasm and vision to bring everyone together, perhaps forming another division of the AAC and going to a flex-scheduling system, even?
I just did it again — a complete 180.
We need someone like the man whose name adjourns the sign at the CLYO Complex.
Unfortunately, they don’t make them like Harry Church, anymore.
McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.