Austintown board approves move to the AAC
By Elise Franco
Most sports at Austintown Fitch will play in the All-American Conference starting in 2011.
The school board approved the switch from the Federal League to the AAC in a four to one vote during Monday night’s meeting. Board member Louis Chine was the only member to vote no.
“I’m not surprised, but I am a little disappointed,” Chine said. “I like the Federal League. It’s much more competitive where a school of our size needs to be.”
Fitch, along with Boardman, joined the Federal League eight years ago, first competing for the football championship in 2004.
The Falcons won the league title that first year.
Chine said though some sports may have had off years recently, he’s confident in those teams’ ability to climb back to the top.
“We might be having some down years, but we’ll come around,” he said. “When we do I’d like it to be in a competitive league.”
Superintendent Vince Colaluca said the decision to switch leagues was made based mainly on the cost to travel to and from each school. “We looked at every facet to where we can save money,” he said. “When we look at athletics, there’s an extra impact on being in a league that’s not in our area.”
Colaluca said every sport except football was invited to be a part of the AAC.
“We’re asking the Federal League to grant us as a full-fledged member for football,” he said. If they’re not accepted by the Federal League the football program would become independent.
Chine said despite his reservations about switching leagues, he will support the decision made by fellow board members.
“I will do everything and then some to make this work,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, when we leave here today it’s a five to zero vote.”
Fitch will join the big-school tier with Canfield, Howland, Niles, Poland, Beaver Local, Hubbard and Struthers.