Monday, Nov 12, 2018
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High School

Suburban Lakes League says no to Bulldogs' bid



When Lakota announced its intention to move to the Midland Athletic League starting with the 2009-2010 school year, the Suburban Lakes League lost one of its charter members.

So the league, which started in 1972, began a search for a potential eighth member, and Rossford submitted a "letter of interest."

It turns out that the interest is not mutual, at least for now.

On May 23, SLL principals voted not to accept Rossford as a member. Voting results of the closed-door meeting were not released, but 75 percent of the league's members - or six of seven - had to vote in favor for the measure to be approved.

As a result, Rossford will remain a member of the Northern Lakes League as it has since the league was chartered in 1956.

"We're going to maintain the quality relationships we have with the other members of the NLL, just as we have for the past 52 years," Rossford athletic director Chuck Cox said when asked about the vote.

The Bulldogs, with an enrollment of 478 (261 boys and 217 girls) in the upper three grades, are the smallest school in the NLL by a wide margin. Rossford would havebecome the largest school in the SLL, surpassing Eastwood which has 466 (232 boys, 234 girls). The next two biggest are Otsego (409 - 203, 206) and Genoa (390 - 211, 179).

Rossford is Division III in football (and only four boys above the Division IV cutoff) in a league filled with Division II teams - not to mention Division I Perrysburg. In boys basketball the Bulldogs are D-II, while the rest of the NLL is D-I.

But Cox doesn't think that automatically makes Rossford the league's weakest team.

"If you contacted fellow NLL members and ask them if Rossford is competitive, I think they'd tell you, yes," Cox said. "It's not that we don't aspire to have championship programs. We may not win a championship, but I think our teams always come ready to compete."

In part because of its size, Rossford has struggled to win championships. The football team's last league title came in 2002, while the boys basketball team hasn't finished first in the NLL since 1993. The girls basketball team won the league in 1993, and that is the school's only girls team title in any sport.

But Cox said winning titles shouldn't be confused with sponsoring a "competitive" program.

"Last year our girls softball team reached the regional finals," Cox said. "They were 27-8, and they finished in a three-way tie for second. If they would have lost one more league game, they would have finished fourth. But can you say they weren't competitive?

"The reward for our teams comes from the knowledge that they've reached their potential. They go out, do their best, and can rest easy because they have done everything they were able to achieve.

"Look at the New York Yankees. If they win their division, make it to the World Series, and then don't win that championship, are they a failure? I think saying that teams aren't competitive because they don't win championships is a distorted reality."

- John Wagner

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