July 2, 2016

Mostly clear

Football: Medina not invited to join Suburban League

GRANGER TWP. — The results are in, and Medina was not invited to join the Suburban League.

Highland High Principal Dana Addis, the SL president, confirmed Wednesday that North Royalton, Brecksville, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Hudson and Kent Roosevelt were formally asked via email Tuesday to join the 64-year-old circuit.

Addis held off announcing the schools until all confirmed they had received an invitation.

“These teams separated themselves based upon hours of discussion, competitive levels, facilities, proximity, all sorts of things,” Addis said. “Anything that helps determine a league was part of the conversation. This all happened by vote with a lot of variables.”

This means the SL wants to expand to 14 teams with two divisions of seven. The proposed big-school division would have Stow (OHSAA enrollment of 1,338), North Royalton (1,334), Hudson (1,250), Cuyahoga Falls (1,217), Wadsworth (1,183), Brecksville (1,163) and Nordonia (1,018), while the small-school division would have Barberton (931), Kent Roosevelt (881), Highland (873), Copley (867), Cloverleaf (737), Revere (679) and Tallmadge (633).

The invited schools have been told to respond by next week.

“We thought (seven-team divisions) brought together a great collection of schools,” Addis said when asked why the SL elected to move forward with the 14-team plan instead of the originally proposed 16. “It leaves us room for schools in the small division to have crossover games with a big school that we want to continue to play.

“We want to remain connected as a league, and that’s a priority.”

Addis said a definitive move on required crossover games has not been decided upon. As it stands, they will be an option only, so Highland and Cloverleaf can still take on their mutual rival, Wadsworth, in non-league action.

What remains to be seen is if Medina will be asked to join the SL if an invited school declines.

Twinsburg also was not invited — it is hesitant to leave the NOC without neighboring Solon, whose SL interest is slim to none — while Kenston could be on the outside looking in due to travel concerns.

When it came to Medina, the natural concern was enrollment. The Bees have an OHSAA figure of 1,812, which is 35 percent larger than Stow.

“We all feel great about Medina, but ultimately every school that applied was voted upon, and we could only take a certain amount of schools,” Addis said. “It had nothing to do with what they did not offer and more to do with what other schools did.”

The counterargument has always been the Bees’ lack of consistent success in football, which drives all league changes. Medina hasn’t won a league title since 1973 and is 10-15 against Wadsworth since 1988.

The Bees are strong in secondary revenue sports basketball and soccer and very solid in many non-revenue sports.

“We thought after being brought to the table and to discuss expansion, our chances were good for joining that league,” Medina athletic director Jeff Harrison said. “I have the upmost respect for the athletic directors in that league and I respect that decision, but, to say the least, we are disappointed.

“I’m holding out hope somebody will not accept an invitation, but there’s a lot to be considered. We sit in a different position right now because when you look at that list of invites, five of them are from the NOC. If those five accept, obviously that changes the dynamics of the NOC. If those five join the SL and the invitation is extended to us, it’s something we would highly consider.”

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.