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Youth league deems Rayen rental price out of range

Published: Sat, October 13, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Denise Dick



A youth football league wanted to use the new Rayen Stadium to host its championship, but the price proved too steep.

Nate Armstrong, president of the Northeast Ohio Youth Football League, said he contacted the city school district athletic office and was told the cost would be $2,500.

“I was a little bit astonished to hear that,” he said.

It’s more than the league, composed of seven teams of 70 to 90 kids age 6 to 13, can afford. The league includes three teams from the city, two from Warren and two from Mercer County.

“We really try to find something that’s free,” said Armstrong, who also is president and head coach of the West Side Patriots. “We’re a nonprofit, and it’s for the kids.”

He said the league also would have to pay for security by city police officers.

Ed Matey, school district athletic director, said the $2,500 amount includes security. It pays for 11 security officers, the number used during a high school game, as well as custodians and other personnel. The number of officers required is based on the crowd, so it could be lower for some games.

Ursuline High School paid $2,500 when it played one of its home games earlier this year at the newly renovated stadium on Ohio Avenue.

But groups such as Armstrong’s can appeal to the school board for a lower fee, Matey said.

The Volney Rogers Youth Football League did that and lowered the fee to $1,900, he said.

Organizations that use the stadium have to provide ticket sellers and ticket takers as well as people to monitor gates during their events and someone to run the scoreboard if the league wants to use the press box.

Last year, NEOYFL used Austintown’s Fitch stadium for its Super Bowl for between $400 and $500, Armstrong said.

The league is divided into divisions based on age. One division is for players age 6 to 8, one for players age 9 and 10 and one for 11- through-13-year-olds.

Neither the teams nor the families have a lot of money, the president said.

Each team pitches in to pay for league insurance, and the only money generated by teams comes from concessions and donations from individuals or businesses.

After talking to the city school district, Armstrong called Cardinal Mooney High School to inquire about using that field.

“I talked to the principal, Mr. [John] Young, and he’s going to allow us to use the field for free,” he said. “We have to supply our own security and pay the guy that’s going to run the clock.”

The league also will have to cover any other costs.

The Super Bowl is set for Oct. 21.

Armstrong said the league hopes to one day have its own field so it doesn’t have to call around to different high schools every year, asking to use their stadiums or fields.


1fcb(460 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Let's see if I have this strait! All these good doers like Tressel,Matey,United Way,and all the others donated THREE MILLION Dollars to build this football stadium for "A place where there could be football games,and a place where the kids can go and have a good time" and now that the kids want to use it the charge is $2500! What a joke.

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2danpecc(7 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The schools have to have good security there for a rental event, and that involves a cost. Cleanup involves a cost. The schools have to protect the community's $3 million investment in that stadium.

If the fee were outrageous, Ursuline wouldn't have paid it. Volney wouldn't have paid it. Ursuline and Mooney pay far more to rent the YSU stadium, including last night, when the Ursuline-Erie game drew less than 300 people.

The story suggests that the league was shown a path to a lower price. Why not hold a fund-raiser, involve the FOP with security, appeal to the school board for a better deal, build some community goodwill, approach a few busineses and figure out a way to make this happen? Creative and enterprising youth leaders have made a way where there's a will for many, many years around here (see Matey, Tressel, McGuffey Centre, Inspiring Minds, Rebecca Williams, Pearl Street Mission, Youngstown Connection, Ytown Neighborhood Development Corp., et al).

The article should have been more descriptive about the Mooney facility. It isn't a stadium, doesn't have a scoreboard or locker rooms or a press box and isn't a very nice place to play or watch a football game. There's a reason it's free.

The leaders of the league could have showed their kids and their families how to be winners. Instead they whined to the paper about their shortcomings, punted on their options and settled for the handout. They showed how to be losers.

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3lefty83(313 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

When this idea came up to renovate rayen stadium was brought up i commented about letting the north-side knights using it.As a former player,coach,trustee,north-sider i knew that youngstown would screw this up.2500 dollars for a non-profit to rent that field is a downright joke.MATEY stay on the west-side...........

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4bigbabycavalier(5 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Hey Danpecc. Lets get one thing straight. I was never offered a lower price. The price that I was given never included securty. We as a league do not mind paying for places to use. But when you try to charge a youth football league top dollar like we are a high school program. I think charging the Volney league 1900 is ludacris!!!! We dont need to use Rayen's locker rooms. By the way Mooney does have a scoreboard. How do you think kids will want to come and play in the city if you are not showing the kids the city has something for them. Ursuline, Mooney and Youngstown Christian and all surroundidng open enrollment schools will always get the athletes to come to there schools because Youngstown city Schools have very little to offer.Our league does have insurance to cover any damages that may occur.

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5borylie(946 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

You're sounding like a conservative. Not everything is free. But,how would democrats get the votes? Everything they do is predicated on giving or promising just enough to buy the vote. Not everything is free,what a bumper sticker.

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6Bman(151 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Isn't this the league where someone was shot in the stands during a game at South Stadium? Maybe the school district just doesnt want that bullsheet at their new stadium.

Not to worry...another school district who will do anything to make 25 cents, will allow this league access for far far cheaper. lol

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7bigbabycavalier(5 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Bman this isnt the league where someone was shot!

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8bigbabycavalier(5 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Hey gdog4766 is not the responsiblity of every team in the league to host the superbowl. Each team is given an oppurtunity to host the superbowl. This years the Westside Patriots will be hosting the superbowl at Mooney High School a place where they undestand the value of encouraging children.

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9blacksuperman(2 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Great story. City schools r charging youth football leagues what YSU charged them to play home games. Matey should be ashamed. Them charging Volney may not be true. There r Volney League coaches that claim Rayen Field was given to them for free. I'm sick and tired of officials claiming to be all about the kids then they go and make it not possible for kids to play on their precious field. Like the one idiot on here says to charge each family $5 so the league could raise the money for the field. Do u have kids? If so, do ur kids participate n sports? Probably not. And by the way Danpecc, Mooney has a scoreboard and locker rooms. Hurray for Principal Young and Cardinal Mooney for doing the right thing. Shame on Youngstown City School. Just another black eye.

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10southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Possibly the supporters of the $3 million pledge want their money back...

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11uncle(12 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I have to say that this league was giving the opportunity to play their championship game at Westminster College last year and we were very pleased at how they cleaned up after the game. There was no isuues and the kids got a chance to play on a college campus. Youngstown city schools athletics is a joke. There is no pride and its not about the kids any longer. U have coaches padding their retirement and are just their to collect a check. Ed Matey has never been a personal person. Im sure he didnt come up with the price though. Its a shame that alot of these kids are from the city but cant use the city facilities. Thats why all the good athletes from the city go else where. There is no pride or dedication in the Youngstown City School system.

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12uncle(12 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

@Youngstown BornRaised, The Austintown little falcons were in the league last year and their homefield was austintown fitch. They were the host of the Superbowl. They are no longer in the league. I have been attending NEOYFL games for 15 years and Have yet to see one fight at these games. Normally teams host games on their home fields. Every. They all have a clean up committee. U should come to the superbowl next Sunday and watch a class act football league.

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13frinightlights(10 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

why all the accusations and innuendo's? Isn't that what causes most of the problems in the first place?

It is easy to find many things wrong with whatever is going on. Try to find one thing that is right and make a big deal about that.

Anyone that knows anything about youth sports knows that personal agenda's do nothing but get in the way of whats right. Give the kids an opportunity to learn and compete.

Youth sports is no place for negativism and politics. LET THE KIDS PLAY !!!!

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14bigbabycavalier(5 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I am the president of the NEOYFL. We as an organization is far from perfect, but our goal is to encourage our children to strive to be the best they can be. This article wasnt to place the blame on anyone. Its purpose was to hopefully stop the lip service about being for the kids and actually DO something for the kids of Youngstown. I will continue to do my part to help guide mode and direct the children that I come in contact with regardless if they play for my organization or not. Thats just apart of who I am as a person. I want this area to be truly a hotbed where wonderful Student/athletes are generated. I want to do my part. Ask your self the question "what am I doing to make my city a better place?"

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15blacksuperman(2 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Children r the future. Kids don't need lip service they need adults to do their part and mode them into respectful young men and women. Politics and greed have no business affecting our children negatively. This article exposes youngstown city school officials as the frauds we have known them to be for years. They don't care about the kids and they r one of the reasons y this city has deteriorated through the years. Our kids aren't being educated like they should be and people aren't sending their kids to city schools bcuz of that. Just look at the county jail and jjc. Full of city school products that can't read and weren't taught anything. Of course it starts at home but the schools aren't making parents accountable or being accountable themselves. Charging a youth league $2500 to play on a field that they want those kids to play on n high school is ridiculous. People n this town should be outraged.

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