CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – With the agreement to dissolve the Inter-Tri County League this past spring, both Crestview and South Range were searching for a new league to call home. However, it won’t be in the Blue Tier of the All-American Conference according to AAC commissioner Rick King.
“We just felt it was in our best interest not to expand at this time. At this time we are going to stay put and see what happens,” King explained. “That doesn’t mean we won’t expand in the future, but unfortunately for South Range and Crestview and everybody else we are not adding any members currently.”
“We have been in dialog with the AAC for the past several months and Monday or Tuesday of this week I was notified that they are not going to continue any future expansion talks with those that were interested in being a part of that expansion,” South Range Superintendent Dennis Dunham explained. “My understanding is that the AAC is going to remain as they are currently with the three tiers and the same members that have been in those three tiers in the past.”
“I think at one point there was a lot of discussion with several other schools looking to go elsewhere and when the ITCL dissolved I think that kind of changed all that focus. It took the need for expansion away from the AAC. When the dust settled, the membership is remaining, and that in turn impacted South Range because they just didn’t have that need to expand,” Dunham added.
When fourteen members of the ITCL submitted letters of resignation in March of this year, it left only Crestview and South Range remaining. In turn, the other fourteen members of the ITCL went on to form the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference (MVAC), and the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference (EOAC).
“In the last couple of weeks I had sent a letter of inquiry to the NBC (Northeastern Buckeye Conference), being transparent with them that we had applied to the AAC. They (NBC) came out to tour our facilities and had discussions with us here at South Range so things are fast tracking at this point. We certainly have interest in the NBC and the last thing we want to become is independent for 2017, 18, and years beyond,” Dunham explained.
With South Range and Crestview both left searching for a new league affiliation, Dunham was quick to remark that they have worked together to try to solve their situation, “Crestview and South Range have been a good, strong, healthy rivalry over the years and we really want to continue that. Again, we felt that way with a lot of the schools in the ITCL. We were disappointed that it went the way that it went, but with that being said, Crestview and South Range are working together. But we also know that at the end of the day, if one of us is excluded, we have to look out for our own district, community, and most importantly our kids.”
“There are going to be some decisions made I would think in the next week in terms of their desire to have us, and our desire to be a part of the NBC. I don’t think we have any other options out their in terms of leagues out there trying to bring in someone they may have lost or to expand their present membership,” Dunham concluded.