Christian Education

Committee seeks to revive the Portage County League


Former Windham superintendent Gregg Isler, former Crestwood coach Brittany Dye and former Record-Courier sports writer Tom Nader are on a committee looking to create a revived Portage County League. They also offer to help run the league, with Isler agreeing to become the league’s commissioner.

“The basis of the new PCL will be the student-athlete,” Isler said in a press release. “All student-athletes at the new conference will benefit from experiences that will enable social, emotional and athletic growth through competition and collaboration from member schools.”

Dye and Nader have committed to serve as assistant commissioners.

They stress that their goal is not to “just revive” the Portage County League, in which the majority of local schools have spent decades, but rather to “do so with an innovative perspective that captures all that has made it the historically formidable PCL, while also introducing a diverse set of new opportunities that can push the league to the forefront of education-based athletics. ”

“We have given a lot of thought to our plan because we know that the dynamics of the county’s districts are very different today than they were when the PCL last existed,” Nader said in the press release. . the story of the old PCL, but more importantly, we want to reinvent it in an improved, modern version of itself. “

The process begins with the committee reaching 11 schools in the area: Crestwood, Field, Garfield, Mogadore, Lake Center Christian, Ravenna, Rootstown, Southeast, Springfield, Waterloo and Windham. All except Lake Center Christian were members of the original PCL, which evolved into a multi-division Portage Trail conference in 2005. This decision was prompted by a disparity in the size of registrations in the PCL, with the PTC having a division of large schools, the Metro and a small school division, the county.

The metro originally included Coventry, Crestwood, Field, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Springfield and Southeast while the county included East Canton, Garfield, Mogadore, Streetsboro, Waterloo, Windham and Woodridge. Various changes have occurred over the years, including Roosevelt leaving for the Suburban League and Cloverleaf entering the metro from the Suburban League. In 2013, Windham left for the Northeastern Athletic Conference, made up of small schools, and in 2017, Waterloo left for the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference. Perhaps the biggest reshuffle was the eight subway schools, which then were Cloverleaf, Coventry, Field, Norton, Ravenna, Springfield, Streetsboro and Woodridge, deciding to form a separate conference. That left a vulnerable county with seven teams and before long Crestwood (Chagrin Valley Conference) and Garfield (MVAC) announced their departures as well. St. Thomas Aquinas and Warren JFK will join the county’s other four schools, Lake Center, Mogadore, Rootstown and Southeast, in 2021-2022, with the understanding that a four-team league was not tenable.

This status quo leaves 12 Portage County teams scattered across seven leagues in 2021-22. (While Garfield and Waterloo will both be in the MVAC next year, the two schools are in separate levels.)

One of the reasons that MAC schools cited for separating from PTC schools, education-based athletics, is said to be one of the priorities of the new PCL.

Another change that the MAC made, having a third-party commissioner, would be part of the PCL.

This is all part of what the press release calls “a serious, detailed and thoughtful plan for the league that offers a comprehensive plan of what it could offer” in an effort to strike up a conversation with the 11 schools that the committee sought to open a dialogue with. Other ideas, according to the press release, include an annual academic and athletic banquet, priority leadership and training opportunities, and an increased digital presence. Dye added that the PCL would aim to offer cost savings over some of the leagues that local schools have moved into.

“Many districts are facing financial uncertainty and division among community members,” Dye said in the press release. “We hope the new PCL can help solve these problems by reducing costs and bringing people together again.


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