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Published: Wednesday, 9/9/2009

MAL denies 2 SLL schools

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Midland Athletic League has denied membership to current Suburban Lakes League members Elmwood and Gibsonburg, perhaps pushing the newly formed Northern Buckeye Conference a step closer to securing its desired eighth member.

MAL secretary John Brueggemeier released a statement yesterday confirming his league's executive committee had met and voted on the applications of Elmwood and Gibsonburg, announcing that their admission "was denied because the vote did not reach the mandatory 80 percent requirement" included in the MAL constitution.

Elmwood, which had also sent a letter of interest to the NBC in July, was subsequently invited to join that conference last month. When Elmwood did not immediately accept that invitation, and confirmed its interest in the MAL, NBC commissioner Larry Jones announced a 15-day extention to his conference's original Aug. 31 deadline.

"Elmwood has until September 15 to let us know whether they want in or not and, until that date, it's open to any other school," Jones said yesterday. "Really nothing has changed for us at this point. We're waiting to hear from Elmwood, and the possibility of anyone else that might be interested."

To date, Gibsonburg has not formally expressed interest in joining the NBC. During the school's process of pursuing membership in the MAL, however, Gibsonburg principal Thom Loomis said "we're not sure we're a great fit for the NBC," but also stated that, if things did not work out with the MAL, Gibsonburg would "explore other options in the future."

"As far as the MAL, that's a done deal now," Loomis said yesterday. "When we found out today, we had a meeting with our coaches after school and started brainstorming about what our next steps would be. We'll proceed from there to see what's best for our kids."

Will Gibsonburg look to the NBC?

"We have not gotten that far in our decision making," Loomis said.

Elmwood superintendent Steven Pritts declined comment yesterday but a school staff member relayed a message from Pritts that he would issue a statement today.

The seven schools already set to begin competition in the NBC in the 2011-12 school year include current SLL members Eastwood, Genoa, Lake, Otsego and Woodmore, current Northern Lakes League member Rossford, and current Northern Ohio League member Fostoria.

The City League's Athletic Board of Control discussed the applications of potential new members Findlay, Fremont Ross and Lima Senior yesterday, but league commissioner Ed Scrutchins said no vote was taken by the 11-member panel because additional time is needed to research the schools and the potential impact of this expansion.

Scrutchins said he would meet next week with ABC co-chairmen Dave Yenrick, the principal at Waite, and Rev. Ronald Olszewski, the president of St. Francis de Sales, to begin the information gathering process. Scrutchins said the ABC would not vote on the potential expansion earlier than its next scheduled meeting on Oct. 13.

Contact Steve Junga at:

sjunga@theblade.com

or 419-724-6461.



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