Elmwood considering a move to the MAL

JERRY CITY ? Elmwood superintendent Steve Pritts is holding out hope the Suburban Lakes League is not yet
a doomed league.
But Elmwood is looking at other options such as joining the Midland Athletic League.
?We?re still looking at our options, but our first and most hopeful option is to keep the SLL intact,?
Pritts said. ?Having said that, we?re also going to pursue the MAL possibility.?
Pritts said the school has not had any formal contact with the MAL but Elmwood did send a ?letter of
interest? to each MAL school regarding the possibility of joining the league.
?(The MAL) is a viable option. There?s no question it?s certainly an option,? Pritts said. ?The schools
involved in that league are outstanding. There?s tradition over there that goes really deep.
?It?d be an honor to be a part of (the MAL) as much as it would be the SLL,? he added.
According to MAL commissioner Mark King, the league is not currently looking for any new schools and the
league does not meet again until August.
?We?re not actively looking for any additional members, but I?m sure the superintendents, principals and
executive board will certainly look at our options, whether it?s in our best interest or not,? King
King would not comment on whether he thought Elmwood would be a good fit for the MAL.
?I?m sure when (the MAL) meets in the middle of August, I?m sure that it will be discussed at that
point,? King said.
Another option for Elmwood would be to join the Northern Buckeye Conference, if the school applied and
was accepted or invited to join the new league.
Eastwood, Genoa, Lake, Otsego and Woodmore, along with Northern Lakes League member Rossford, are
scheduled to begin play in the newly-formed NBC for the 2011-12 school year.
?We would also entertain looking at the new league (NBC) as well,? Pritts said. ?It?s keeping all the
options open.
?We?ve found, in an effort to be transparent, it?s in everyone?s best interest to get this information to
as many of the decision makers as possible so that we can avoid leaving someone out.?
However, one of the key points for Elmwood joining the NBC would be the possible additions of more larger
schools like Rossford. Maumee received a ?verbal invitation? to join the NBC, according to a release
from Maumee City Schools.
Maumee athletic director Matt Szyndler could not be reached for comment.
?If we would apply and be accepted we?re not sure who the eighth team would be and whether that would be
an Oregon (Clay), a Maumee, an Oak Harbor, which would really take us even farther from our concern
about the large schools,? Pritts said.
According to Pritts, Elmwood and Gibsonburg both voted to accept Rossford and Fostoria as members of the
SLL when a 12-team, two-division league was proposed before the NBC was created. However, according to
Pritts, Eastwood and Genoa voted down that resolution. The results of how each school voted were not
Elmwood had voted against Rossford multiple times when that school wanted to fill Lakota?s spot as the
eighth member of the SLL. Lakota left the SLL to become a member of the MAL, starting this fall.
?We did vote for Rossford and Fostoria … We thought that was a good compromise to keep the integrity of
the teams, the sizes. I don?t know if that information is out there,? Pritts said. ?We have had
conversations with those teams and it looked like a real doable thing. But Eastwood and Genoa voted
against it.?
As for his plea for the fellow SLL schools to reconsider leaving the league, Pritts feels the schools may
have rushed into joining the NBC.
?There?s a lot of a details before anyone should sign up and agree to anything,? Pritts. ?But I would
also say that right now (the NBC) is currently a six-team league. I don?t see where that?s any better
than a seven-team league, which we were in.?
?It?s disheartening to see the results that have transpired, but it?s not over,? Pritts added. ?We?re
still hopeful that we can keep the SLL intact and get back the core group. We want to get back to what
we believe is important and that?s the competition and what?s best for our students.?
Pritts sent out a press release Thursday to fellow members of the SLL to reconsider leaving the league
for the NBC.
Pritts stated in the release that Elmwood ?still (has) a desire to see the SLL remain a league and
continue strong and long-standing traditions.?
?We understand that each district must follow the course of action that is in the best interest of their
students,? the release continued. ?To that end, if you have any desire to preserve the SLL, please
reconsider your position of joining a six team league with the possibilities of larger schools being
If the five teams in the SLL do move to the NBC, Elmwood and Gibsonburg would be the only schools
remaining in the SLL, barring the addition of any other schools before that time. Lakota left the SLL
earlier this year to begin play in the MAL this fall.
?Your district?s decision to leave the SLL may be reversed,? the release concluded. ?If your district
finds that the decision to leave the SLL has been pre-mature, please notify the SLL commissioner to
request that your membership status be reconsidered.?