The newly formed
All-American Conference begins in eight months.
By GREG GULAS
BOARDMAN — As commissioner of the newly-formed All-American Conference, Clem Zumpella welcomes the New Year for one very special reason.
It’s a sign that play in all sports for the charter class of his conference membership is just eight months away.
Speaking Monday to the Curbstone Coaches at their weekly meeting at the Blue Wolf Banquet Center, Zumpella said many school administrators were responsible for getting the league together in such expedient fashion.
“The All-American Conference is a result of combining the Metro Athletic Conference and the Trumbull Athletic Conference. Quite frankly, we cannot wait to get started,” Zumpella said.
“The school superintendents agreed to a five-year commitment for this league while both principals and athletic directors have also worked very hard to make this league a reality. We tried our best to create parity in the three divisions within the league while scheduling for all of the league members just became a little easier.
“The 16 schools have been placed in respective divisions with regard to their enrollment numbers. A few minor adjustments have been made but our commitment is to look at enrollment figures each and every year,” he added.
Drawing from their namesake, there will be a red, white and blue division.
The red division will include Canfield, Howland, Poland, Niles and Beaver Local or schools that comprise the upper enrollment division; Hubbard, Struthers, Lakeview, Salem and Liberty will comprise the white, or middle enrollment division with Campbell Memorial, Girard, Champion, Newton Falls, LaBrae and Brookfield making up the blue or smaller enrollment division.
A total of 17 sports will be offered for boys and girls with football, boys golf, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, track and field and cross country the sports in which all 16 schools will take part.
The other sports offered include boys and girls soccer, girls golf, boys and girls tennis, wrestling, swimming and bowling.
In addition to those 16 schools, the middle school division will also include Boardman Center and Boardman Glenwood as well as Austintown Middle School and Austintown Frank Ohl Middle School.
“The only team from either the MAC or the TAC to not follow the others to the All-American Conference is East Liverpool. With travel a big concern, they’ve decided to pursue another league affiliation,” Zumpella noted.
“A league affiliation locks you into games against conference foes. As an independent, at best, you might secure a two-year agreement with an opponent so that in itself is trying when it comes time to complete a schedule.
“Along with scheduling, travel, equity and balance are the biggest benefits of conference membership.”
An accomplished musician and part-time instructor in the highly-acclaimed YSU Dana School of Music, Zumpella is a native of New Castle, Pa. and has served as commissioner of the MAC since its inception in 1993.
“It’s a worn out cliché, but the bottom line is that this conference will benefit the kids. All athletic directors have worked hard to finalize their schedules while we are still working on our constitution and by-laws, our all-academic awards and game sportsmanship policies. All is contingent upon the principals’ approval,” he added.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Dave Vietz, Bill Sferra, Mel Staats and Glen Windram who will serve as assignors of all officials while Joe Mogulich, the former athletic director at Struthers, has agreed to serve as league secretary.”
School principals will have voting power with athletic directors making recommendations to their respective principals during the decision-making process.
“Nothing in our constitution says that we won’t look at expansion, nor is there anything that says we would only look at certain schools. We’re always looking to better the make-up of the league so that includes having an open mind when approached by any and all interested schools,” Zumpella stated.
Next week, Bob Jackson, current Mahoning County Jury Commissioner, will serve as guest speaker.