A week after the Northern Lakes League?s decision to add Napoleon, those involved with the league are
backing the choice.
The league?s principals voted June 9 to add Napoleon over Clay, the only other school applying for the
Now, those involved with the league look for Napoleon to make a smooth transition into the NLL as
Napoleon will take over Rossford?s spot as the smallest school in the NLL, as Rossford chose to leave the
NLL and join the newly-formed Northern Buckeye Conference with departing Suburban Lakes League schools
Eastwood, Genoa, Lake, Otsego and Woodmore, effective for the 2011-12 school year.
Clay, with its total enrollment of 959 students, would have stepped in as the fifth-largest school in the
NLL according to the latest enrollment figures provided by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
But given Napoleon?s ability to compete in its current conference, the Greater Buckeye Conference ? which
includes the larger schools of Findlay, Lima Senior, Fremont Ross, Sandusky and Marion Harding ? those
around the league believe Napoleon will step into the NLL and compete immediately.
?There?s no question (Napoleon can be competitive),? Bowling Green athletics director Mike Vannett said.
?Look at the league they?ve played in … And they have been not only competitive, they win.
?They win across the board,? Vannett added. ?They?re going to be able to compete in our league. There?s
no question about that.?
Napoleon has established successful football and basketball programs, but will also compete in the wide
variety of other varsity sports the NLL features. Napoleon has varsity programs in boys and girls
soccer, volleyball, softball, cross country, and track, among others, and features a swim team with its
own pool located on the high school campus.
?We know that they?ve got good football and basketball programs and that?s certainly a plus. But they
also have a nice swimming pool area, gymnastics, nice track … nice facilities,? Perrysburg athletics
director Ray Pohlman said. ?With Napoleon, one of the things we know is they have a good fan base and
they bring a lot of people and support their athletic programs.?
NLL commissioner Larry Morrison said Napoleon features bowling and gymnastics as club sports, meaning its
board of education does not pay its coaches for those sports. However, Morrison said Napoleon will look
to compete in the NLL in both bowling and gymnastics while keeping their club status.
Napoleon does not have a girls golf team, but Morrison said Napoleon ?will make every effort to get one
since the NLL has it.?
Although Napoleon?s total enrollment (563 students) is over 150 students smaller than the next-smallest
school in the NLL (Maumee, 717), the school does not expect its enrollment to drop in the next five to
10 years, according to Morrison.
?They don?t think that they?re going to drop,? said Morrison. ?They?re going to be pretty static.?
Napoleon is Division III in football ? Clay is Division I in all sports ? and competes in Division II in
the other major sports, including basketball, baseball, volleyball, etc. Football was a major part of
the decision between Napoleon and Clay, Morrison said.
?That was one of the topics of discussion. Did we want a (Division) I or a (Division) III (football
school)?? Morrison said. ?The feeling was (Clay) would be better for football but maybe not in the other
sports, so as a result we had to look at the overall league situation.?
Travel to and from Napoleon was also a point of discussion, as most NLL teams are located with 30 minutes
of each other. Construction on U.S. 24, and its pending completion to four lanes, played a significant
part in the decision.
?That?s one of the things we talked about because 24 right now is a winding road and our kids just don?t
travel that far,? Pohlman said. ?We?re hoping by the time we start playing Napoleon that 24 has been
completed and the project will be over with. That will make a big difference.?
Once completed, it has been rumored that a drive from Maumee to Napoleon will last a little over 20
?That?s incredible if that?s true,? Pohlman said. ?But it?d be nice.?
Morrison and the league maintained their silence on the actual results of the vote on Clay and Napoleon,
restating the information would not be released. The commissioner would not comment on whether the vote
was unanimous and did not know what made the league choose Napoleon over Clay.
?I have no idea. I didn?t vote and I have no idea why certain people voted one way and certain people
voted another,? Morrison said.
Now that the NLL has retained its eight-team status, Morrison said that the league is not looking to add
any additional teams. Earlier in the year, it had been rumored that the NLL was looking to form a 10-12
team, two-division league.
?We have no desire to go beyond eight (teams),? Morrison said.
For Bowling Green, which featured Napoleon as a staple in its football schedule for Week 3 in the past,
the process of finding a new non-league opponent is under way. Napoleon will be slotted into Rossford?s
spot in the league?s schedules as a matter of simplicity.
?We?ve got to fill that Week 3 spot in our schedule, so we?re looking at that right now,? Vannett said.
Vannett said he looks to continue BG?s strong ties with Rossford as part of it?s non-conference schedule
in all sports, including football.
?If we could play Rossford in Week 3 that would be great. That would be beautiful from our standpoint,?
Vannett said. ?If that doesn?t work out than we?ll have to look at other options.?
Vannett went on to say that no schools, including Rossford, have been contacted yet regarding filling the
Bobcat?s Week 3 football game.