Green High School sports teams will soon be heading south more instead of north.
Green Superintendent Jeff Miller said Tuesday that the Bulldogs will be leaving the Suburban League to join the Federal League beginning with the 2015-16 school year.
“I am announcing my recommendation to the board that Green join the Federal League in ’15-’16,” Miller said. “The board meeting is this coming Monday.”
Miller said he gave the situation considerable thought and talked with others at Green.
“I conferred with [Green Principal] Cindy Brown, [Green Athletic Director] Bruce Johnson, numerous community stakeholders and got input from our coaches,” Miller said. “Certainly Bruce, Cindy, [Assistant Principal] Erich Muzi and [Assistant Prinicpal] Bill Bridenthal were involved heavily in gathering the information and bringing me up to speed on this.”
Miller said the vote will go to the five-person board Monday. Green will continue to compete in the Suburban League in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
“I have the utmost respect for the Suburban League, Commissioner Keith Walker and all the member schools,” Miller said. “There was an athletic meeting earlier [Tuesday] where they were notified in person.
“I have also crafted letters that have gone out to the superintendents, principals and athletic directors at the schools.”
Miller said he “looked at it from a lot of different angles, with one of the prime ones being this is the best possible experience for our student-athletes.”
He also said proximity, natural rivalries with neighboring communities in the Federal League and getting students home earlier to focus on their studies after athletic events were important aspects.
A league of seven
Green, a school in southern Summit County, will join a Federal League that features nearby Stark County schools Canton McKinley, GlenOak, Jackson, Lake, North Canton Hoover and Perry.
“We are very excited about this decision,” Federal League Commissioner Joe Eaton said. “The Federal League couldn’t be happier. That was our mission when we started all of this. Of all the schools we talked to, we were hoping Green would be a player with us. We think it is a win-win for Green and the six schools in Stark County.”
Eaton said at this point the Federal League will move forward with seven schools but would discuss a possible eighth school.
“We will sit down and talk with our seven members, which includes Green, and see where we go,” Eaton said. “We will talk about sticking with seven or going to eight. Right now, we are happy at seven. I would like to sit back and relax at this point. It has been a long process.
“Green did their due diligence for their students, parents and coaches. I know a lot of people were talking and saying Green was playing the Suburban League against the Federal League and vice versa, but that was not the case. This was not an easy decision for Green. They looked at their options and came to this conclusion that it was time to move on. I also see this as a win for the middle school programs. It is just a perfect fit for all. A great move for Green and a great move for the Federal League.”
A league of 16?
Green is a charter member of the Suburban League, which was started in 1949, and will leave behind Copley, Nordonia, Revere and Tallmadge of Summit County and Cloverleaf, Highland and Wadsworth of Medina County.
Walker said the other seven schools are firm with their commitments to the Suburban League.
“Green delivered that information to us at a meeting in person, which was very nice of them,” Walker said. “Their superintendent then made the decision public.
“We have another meeting set for next Monday at 9 a.m., and it will involve the principals and athletic directors of the seven school members and we will put together an action plan on how we move forward.”
Walker said the seven Suburban League holdovers talked about the possibility of adding other schools that are currently in other leagues.
Walker said 13 schools have varying levels of interest in joining the Suburban League. The 13 schools are Medina, Hudson, Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, North Royalton, Solon, Twinsburg, Barberton, Kent Roosevelt, Aurora, Kenston and Ravenna.
“An email went out to all of those schools today and we will move as quickly as possible forward,” Walker said. “We let them know that we will be back in touch with them as soon as we can. Highland Principal Dana Addis is the outgoing Suburban League president, and he is going to host the upcoming meeting.”
Walker said the plan is to have a revamped Suburban League that will feature 16 schools, with two conferences/divisions of eight schools. Enrollment figures would divide the schools into big and small groupings.
Even though Green is moving in a different direction, it still would like to play Suburban League schools in the future once it leaves the league.
“We are looking to continue our rivalries with Suburban League schools,” Miller said. “They would be nonleague games, but absolutely we would like to continue to play against Suburban League schools.”
Wadsworth’s new Athletic Director Brad Musgrave and former Athletic Director Rich Berlin each said that the Grizzlies are staying in the Suburban League.
“Wadsworth is committed to the Suburban League,” Musgrave said. “We just found out at the league meeting about Green’s decision.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.