Harding, Brookfield apply for AAC membership

Harding, Brookfield

apply for membership

By John Bassetti and Joe Scalzo

bassetti@vindy.com scalzo@vindy.com

In light of applications by Warren Harding and Brookfield for possible inclusion into the All-American Conference, formulating a new model for the league is still cloudy.

“Everything is on the table as to the possibility of having separate tiers for football and re-doing them for basketball and other sports,” AAC commissioner Rick King said.

“We’ve learned in the past that one size doesn’t fit all sports, all teams. We’re willing to make adjustments and take look at different scenarios.”

To make a three-tier conference workable, King said that at least 18 teams are needed.

“If everything works out, we could add several, if not more than several,” he said. “Our goal is to go back to an original three distinct tiers.”

In trying to group teams as best as it can, the AAC will explore the sports facilities of the school and the travel, so that everybody is within a regional distance with no transportation issues.

Harding athletic director Paul Trina said the Raiders want to get back into a local conference. Harding has been in the Lake Erie League since 2010.

“The major benefit is being able to renew some traditional backyard rivalries,” Trina said. “And you’re looking at a conference that has grades 7-12 with a full complement of sports.

“I really believe in this day and age, people will support high school athletics if it’s local competition and it doesn’t put a burden on them.”

Brookfield athletic director Tim Taylor said the Warriors, who left the AAC in 2009, will wait and see what the conference looks like before making a final decision.

“There’s pros and cons,” Taylor said. “We basically want to see what the tiers will be and if it’s a good fit, we’re very interested. If not, we’ll probably stay independent.

“When we withdrew, we were the smallest school, enrollment-wise, out of 16 teams. We felt like we were competitive within our own [tier] but the cross-over games [against the middle tier] concerned a lot of our coaches. We didn’t feel like we were in a position at that time to compete.”

King said that the AAC is solid, but thinks it can be better.

“If we can add at the top [the biggest schools] and in-between [mid-sized schools] there’s a lot to offer something to fans and make our league as good as possible.”

King said that tier alignments, at this juncture, are pure speculation.

“Like the NFL draft, fans and the media can only guess what’s going to happen, but we have no definite plans,” he said. “We’ll take a look at schools, interview people and look at sports facilities and go from there.”

He added: “Most [divisional composition] will change, hopefully. If we can guarantee enough games for everyone, that’s the direction we’d like to go if possible.”

When asked about the possibility of Mooney’s inclusion, King said that the uncertain outcome of the public vs. private proposal leaves question marks, especially if the proposal is passed, which could result in the likelihood of all-parochial conferences.

The conference will accept applications for two more weeks.

“We set a May [1] deadline because we’re not going to do it overnight,” King said. “We want to make this thing work.”

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