Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ross and the NOL....a good match

Fremont Ross belongs in the Nothern Ohio League. Now I realize that many regular forum visitors will say whoa there buster, You've been against this for most of this year. Why the change now? That is a fair question and I hope to effectively answer it here.

As the league-change dominos began to fall last year with the move by Fostoria St. Wendelin out of the Midland Athletic League we all saw the writing on the wall. That simple move would eventually create a sea-change in league and conference memberships in Northwestern and North-Central Ohio. Next came Lakota, then Galion and Upper Sandusky, followed by the collapse of the Suburban Lakes League, and on and on.

In the meantime Little Giant fans, including myself were wondering, what would happen to us? Where would Fremont Ross wind up? The Northern Lakes League? Nope. The move by Napoleon from the GBC to the NLL, paired with the fact that the brief talk of an NLL expansion to 10 or 12 teams went nowhere eliminated that possibility. The Toledo City League? Not so far. The fact that Oregon Clay was told no by the NLL and will for now remain in the TCL seems to have wiped that chance away. A new league made up of Ross, Findlay and the TCL privates?
Seems like that long talked about dream will remain just that. An expanded Greater Buckeye Conference? No way in heck that will ever happen as only four teams remain and no one is beating down the door to get in.

That leaves the Northern Ohio League. With todays announcement that NOL member Fostoria has been extended an invitation to join the Northern Buckeye Conference, which is a given, the NOL will drop back to six members. New member Sandusky joins Tiffin Columbian, Norwalk, Bellevue, Willard, and Shelby. A six team league can work, but as the GBC has discovered it's not as easy to function with six members as it is with eight.

Some long time NOL folks are holding out hope that some way, somehow, they can lure Clyde and Perkins out of the Sandusky Bay Conference. The Fliers and Pirates were two of the programs that were sent letters of interest from the NOL this past spring. The answer to those letters was a resounding no, we're fine right where we are. The SBC is a stable league. Sure, some folks will point to Margarettas current financial state and the possiblity that there will be no Polar Bear sports teams soon. But that situation, much like what happened in Huron will resolve itself and things will be fine in Castalia.

Recently a Toledo Blade sports article quoted Ross AD Art Bucci as saying that back in April we sent a letter of interest to the NOL. As of this time there has been no response by the Northern Ohio to that letter of interest. Why is that? The simple answer is the Fremont Ross and the NOL are a good match and in the long run we will need each other.

Ross has a history of athletic competition with the six teams that will remain in the NOL once Fostoria leaves, and I am not just talking about football here. While the pigskin is a huge part of the scenario it is not the whole story and must not be the determining factor. Little Giant athletic teams play NOL teams in many sports. We play Willard in basketball, Norwalk in soccer, Bellevue in baseball, and Columbian in all sports. We are competitive with those programs. We do not dominate them.

Then there is the issue of travel and ecomomics. Fremont is centrally located to almost all of the remaining NOL schools. The cost of travel for them and us would be drastically reduced. It's a win-win situation. When Fremont comes to town the gate receipts would go up as we all know Little Giant fans travel well. If we can take 1,000 fans or more to Reynoldsburg, image how many would show up in Bellevue or Norwalk.

I believe there is a reason the Northern Ohio League has not responded yet to the letter of interest from Fremont Ross. I think they too, realize that in the long run if they want their conference to survive they will need us as we, quite frankly, need them. I urge the athletic department and administration to continue to court the NOL. In the long run it will be a good match.

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