Sources told the Star Beacon on Friday evening that a county-only plan for fall sports has fallen through.
That was the result after Pymatuning Valley, Edgewood and Jefferson became the final schools to back out of an agreement to play in-county games, according to sources.
This comes after the News Herald reported Thursday that superintendents from eight county schools had been in discussions to play only in-county for fall sports.
“I have no idea [what happened today] except that PV, Edgewood and Jefferson all thought we we’re playing because of the pandemic in Ashtabula County for this season, but I guess now we’re not,” the source said. “Why not? I don’t know. I don’t know what happened. I thought we were in, but we’re not.”
Sources said there was a meeting during which all the superintendents, aside from Geneva, agreed to play in-county only for fall sports. They were very clear that the arrangement wasn’t a county league. It was a “way to play for the health and safety of the athletes.”
Sources said the athletic directors were supposed to meet Friday to schedule the in-county only fall sports season.
“That’s how far along we were,” the sources said. “Jefferson, Edgewood and PV and now all of a sudden everyone [else] drops off.”
According to sources, local superintendents have no plans to meet to discuss athletics further.
“That is for sure,” one source said.
Jefferson Superintendent J.C. Montanaro confirmed the school was committed to the reported plan. He still believes that the best way forward playing in-county only games.
“Playing in Ashtabula County is the best thing for kids right now, I think,” Montanaro said. “I don’t see why we don’t do it.”
Montanaro believes the plan would’ve been successful even without a commitment from Geneva.
“I think you could lose one [school], and the rest of us could do it, but once you lose two, three and then you lose four and it’s down to us, Edgewood and PV we can’t do it,” Montanaro said.
Montanaro said Jefferson will continue to try to do what’s best for its student-athletes.
“We’re still going to do every possible thing that we need to do to make sure that they’re safe to go play whoever we’re playing, but if I had my way, we would be playing right here in Ashtabula,” he said.
With Aug. 1 quickly approaching, Jefferson plans to play its Northeast 8 Athletic Conference schedule.
“As of right now, we’re in the NE8, and we’re gonna play in the NE8,” Montanaro said. “We’ll follow our schedule, as made last year.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, PV superintendent Christopher Edison confirmed PV’s commitment to the reported plan. He informed Northeastern Athletic Conference commissioner Pat Giuliano about the decision.
However, less than 24 hours later, with multiple schools suddenly backing out of the plan, Edison contacted Giuliano about rejoining the conference for fall sports.
“I hope we can play our schedule as is,” Edison said. “As long as the NAC understands, and I think they did, they understand why we did it and that they welcome us back for the year.
“I talked to Mr. Giuliano, and he said we’d be OK. We’ll continue as if [my announcement yesterday] never happened.”