Evergreen Board hears league change presentation

No decision made, community forum planned

By Drew Stambaugh - dstambaugh@aimmediamidwest.com

The Evergreen Board of Education on Monday heard a presentation about a possible league change for the district’s athletics.

Superintendent Eric Smola told the board that there is a lot of history with the Northwest Ohio Athletic League, but a potential change should at least be looked at.

“Looking at our history, of how we’ve performed and the potential for league movement, I think we need to be taking a proactive approach,” he said.

That history shows Evergreen with the fewest NWOAL titles since 1976. The school district has 18 girls’ titles and four boys’ titles, for a total of 22.

In that time, Archbold has had 148 titles; Bryan, 118; Wauseon, 117; Swanton, 62; Delta, 53; Liberty Center, 47; and Patrick Henry, 27, according to Smola’s presentation.

“It was a little shocking to me when I looked into how we have done historically in the league,” he said.

Smola also showed enrollments for school districts in the league, with Bryan’s and Wauseon’s quite a bit larger than Evergreen, while Archbold’s, Swanton’s, and Delta’s were similar in size.

He said the school district did not necessarily have a choice when it came to studying league membership change.

“We were kind of forced into examining what the future may look like,” Smola said. “We know that there was one member of the NWOAL in the last year or so that had been looking to make a move. They did not do so yet. We’ve got Swanton now seeking approval to leave the NWOAL, which could create another potential opening.”

He added that it would be unlikely a new NWOAL team would be a similar or smaller-sized school. The superintendent mentioned Napoleon and Bowling Green as possibilities.

“So I ask the board: Do we want to be proactive or reactive? I hope we’re taking a proactive approach to make decisions that are in the best interest of our students,” he said.

Discussions have been held about a possible new league with the Evergreen, Delta, Swanton, Ottawa Hills, Northwood, Montpelier, and Edon school districts. Edon would be a football only member in this scenario.

“On the record, Swanton is ready to move forward, I believe, and I’ve heard verbally from Ottawa Hills and Northwood and Montpelier as well. If everyone’s on board that is something they are open and willing to do and their boards would support,” Smola said.

Smola said his role is to present information. League change would be a board decision that requires policy change.

“I’m not saying that’s what we need to do, but we need to be looking at what the options are to best position our student athletes,” he said.

In order to gather opinions from district residents, a community forum will be held in the Evergreen High School gym Monday at 7 p.m. Questions and comments can be sent to submit@evgvikings.org.

No decision made, community forum planned

By Drew Stambaugh