Youngstown City Schools going independent next year - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown City Schools going independent next year

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Youngstown City School athletics are going independent after the 2018 fall sports.

“We have to do what’s best for our student-athletes and at this time, that means going independent,” said Rick Shepas, Chief Director of Performance and Athletics.

The district has been part of the All-American Conference for the last several years. 

Next year, though, the district wants to restart sports at Chaney High School beginning with men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, track, baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s rugby.

Two high school teams across the district means the number of student-athletes will be split across the two schools. 

The All-American Conference generally assigns schools to tiers based on school enrollment with the Red Tier for larger-enrollment schools and the Blue Tier for those with lower enrollment.

Despite a lower enrollment, however, East, has played in the conference’s Red Tier for football and basketball with larger schools including Austintown Fitch, Boardman, and Warren G. Harding. 

When YCSD proposed both East and Chaney being part of the AAC, affiliate schools wanted to keep both in the Red Tier for football and basketball.

“That doesn’t give our students the chance to be competitive,” said Superintendent Joe Meranto. “Why should we be treated differently from everyone else?” 

That’s when the YCSD leadership team and the coaches and faculty managers decided to go independent instead.

"For our kids to have the opportunity to compete at a level that will give us the best chance to grow athletic programs at East High School and Chaney High School, we feel this decision is in the best interests of YCSD," Shepas said.

Shepas and Meranto sent a letter Monday to AAC school affiliates formally announcing the withdrawal. 

"On behalf of the former boards of education and long-time Athletic Director Ed Matey, I want everyone to know that we appreciate the conference affiliation that we have had and that we have enjoyed competing with all of your member schools," the letter said. "Special thanks for allowing us to participate in baseball and softball in the Blue Tier. That was truly appreciated."

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