OHSAA moves East to Division IV
Still to be determined by Youngstown City Schools officials
is the status of four senior athletes with ties to Chaney
By Tom Williams
The return of sports to Chaney High School means at least one East High School team now is competing in a lower division.
But the varsity careers of four East seniors with ties to Chaney are in limbo as a result of the Ohio High School Athletic Association ruling on Tuesday that the East football team has been moved from Division II to Division IV.
The OHSAA is checking to see if East’s volleyball team will drop from Division I. A decision is expected soon as tournament brackets should be announced next week.
OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried said East’s enrollment no longer includes Chaney due to Chaney returning as an OHSAA member school. The enrollment change is why East is dropping to a division for smaller schools.
“It’s a unique situation,” said Rich Shepas, Youngstown athletic director. “It’s not very often where you bring an entire sports program back to life after it’s been dormant for six or seven years.”
The OHSAA ruled that students who attend Chaney can only play for Chaney teams.
Before the decision, Chaney’s enrollment was added to East’s enrollment because Chaney had no sports. Enrollment is one of the factors that the OHSAA uses to determine its divisions for sports.
The decision also affects the Fitch and Boardman football teams, which have wins over the Golden Bears. Opponents’ size determines the value of computer points for winning teams. By East dropping two divisions, the points Boardman and Fitch earned declined.
This week, Fitch (4-1) is the No. 4 team in Division I, Region 1 while Boardman (4-1) is fourth in Division II, Region 5. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the postseason.
Last week, East was ranked eighth in Division II, Region 5 in the computer ratings. This week, East (3-2), which lost to Austintown Fitch 13-0 last Friday, is 13th team in Division IV, Region 13. Hubbard, Poland, Salem, Struthers, Girard and Cardinal Mooney are among the teams ahead of East.
Youngstown City Schools officials are working with the OHSAA to determine if the four seniors can finish their seasons. Shepas said three are football players and one is a volleyball player. None will compete until their status is resolved.
“We [won’t] play them,” Shepas said. “Each of these seniors have individual circumstances that are unique. That’s why it’s still in question.
“We’ve been doing our due diligence with what the state is asking from us,” Shepas said.
Before the Golden Bears’ first football game, seven players who had been training with the Golden Bears left the team to join Chaney’s junior varsity team, said Brian Marrow, East varsity football coach. All would have been backups if they had remained.