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Area administrators miffed by OHSAA move

Jerry Snodgrass had a presence as the Ohio High School Athletic Association commissioner, through his social media accounts and in person. He was admired by most athletic directors and administrators for his tireless work.

That came to an abrupt end Monday night as the OHSAA Board of Directors removed Snodgrass as commissioner and replaced him on an interim basis with longtime OHSAA associate commissioner Bob Goldring.

Goldring held the interim position in 2016 when former OHSAA commissioner Dr. Dan Ross had medical issues for a couple of months.

“The Board of Directors felt it necessary to go in a different direction with OHSAA leadership. We cannot go into more detail at this time,” said Tim Stried, OHSAA senior director of communication in an email.

There’s been plenty of speculation on why Snodgrass was fired but nothing on the record.

Dan Leffingwell, Noble Local Schools superintendent, said the dismissal did not have anything to do with the COVID-19 pandemic-related items concerning Ohio high school athletics.

“We have had zero conversations to date regarding the return to play plans or any switching of the fall and spring seasons,” said Jeff Harrison, Noble Local Schools communication director in a tweet. “This had nothing to do with the change of leadership at the OHSAA.”

Southington Schools Superintendent Rocco Nero, who is on the Northeast District Board, said he has had nothing but great interactions with Snodgrass.

“He’s always been a great, caring, all-for-the-kids person,” Nero said. “That’s just the way he is.”

Nero said he had no answers as to why Snodgrass was let go.

“What transpired, I have no clue,” he said. “I would not comment on it unless I knew anything. That’s where it is. It’s a stressful time. That’s all I can say.”

Poland athletic director Brian Banfield, who also is on the Northeast District Board, said he spoke with one of the OHSAA Board of Directors on Tuesday morning

“Obviously he couldn’t comment about what happened in the weeks leading up to what occurred (Monday night),” Banfield said. “They are still prepping and moving forward to getting fall sports started on Aug. 1.”

Social media has been full of tributes to Snodgrass, saying what a great advocate he was for the high school athletes and schools in Ohio.

“He’s making a decision that has the kids’ best interests at heart,” said Randy Riccitelli, McDonald High School athletic director. “You can live with the decisions he made because you knew where his heart was. This is how he came up, his path and his position. He was a former coach and athletic director. He was making his decisions on what was best for the kids. Let’s hope that continues.”

Mineral Ridge athletic director Tim Porter said his phone had been ringing off the hook since the announcement about Snodgrass came out.

He met with his coaches on Tuesday night. Most of the calls and texts were from other people.

“This is nuts,” he said.

Mineral Ridge was a finalist for the golden megaphone award, something created in 2014. The goal of the OHSAA was to “promote sportsmanship and positive school spirit from the fans in the increasingly popular student cheering sections at basketball games across the state.”

Porter said he thought the world of Snodgrass.

“He’s done a lot for high school sports,” Porter said. “I think he’s created a very good, positive atmosphere in a lot of the sports. Overall, I think he did a good job.

“Unfortunately, I think he got caught in this pandemic. I don’t care who you are, you’re going to struggle through this. No decision you’re going to make is going to be the perfect decision. I thought he did a great job. I have the utmost respect for him. I wish he was still there to be quite honest with you.”

The timing of the announcement couldn’t be worse, Porter said. He comes from a marketing, advertising and public relations background, fields in which he spent 15 years.

“If you’re going to make that kind of a major decision, my question is where is the PR side of it?” Porter said. “It sure doesn’t look like they got it on this one.”

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