Going Independent

November 27, 2017

On Monday, Youngstown (Ohio) City Schools announced that it will withdraw from the All-American Conference after the 2018 season.

According to WFMJ, Rick Shepas, Youngstown's Chief Director of Performance and Athletics, and Joe Meranto, Youngstown's Superintendent, sent a letter to AAC's affiliates to formally announce their withdrawal. Shepas said the decision was motivated by a desire to grow the athletic program and give student-athletes opportunities to compete.

“We have to do what’s best for our student-athletes and at this time, that means going independent,” Shepas said.

For several years, Youngstown had been part of the AAC's Red Tier for higher enrollment schools, as opposed to the lower enrollment Blue Tier, despite having lower enrollment than most of the former group of schools. When the YCSD submitted a proposal for Chaney and East High School to join the AAC, only to be told that both would be sent to the Red Tier, it decided to withdraw.

“That doesn’t give our students the chance to be competitive,” Meranto said. “Why should we be treated differently from everyone else?” 

Meranto and Shepas' letter expressed appreciation to the AAC.

"On behalf of the former boards of education and long-time Athletic Director Ed Matey, I want everyone to know that we appreciate the conference affiliation that we have had and that we have enjoyed competing with all of your member schools," the letter said. "Special thanks for allowing us to participate in baseball and softball in the Blue Tier. That was truly appreciated."

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