In a sports department like the Tribune Chronicle's, summer is usually a time to take a break. It's time to take some much-deserved vacation and recharge the batteries for the ever-looming football season around the corner.
Not the summer of 2013. This summer has been - and will continue to be - one of the most news-oriented summers there have been in quite a long time.
Since the high school sports season ended the weekend of June 8-9 (which is our official beginning of summer), it was announced Cardinal Mooney football is under investigation for illegal recruiting, Brian Jones stepped down as Liberty's football coach and Kevin Cylar was awarded the job less than two weeks later and Chris Perez made a trip to Niles to pitch as a Mahoning Valley Scrapper.
Those were just a few of the headlines that have come in June. With the month wrapping up, it would be easy to think that it might be time to calm down and for the world of local sports to take a breather. Not so fast.
Monday is the day the All-American Conference has been waiting for as it is the deadline for schools to accept or decline the invitation the conference sent to them in May.
According to AAC commissioner Rick King, Warren G. Harding, Brookfield, Boardman, East and Edgewood have confirmed with him that they are set to join the conference in 2015. The only school King has not heard from is Pymatuning Valley, which was the sixth and final school to be offered an invitation.
The word around town is that the Lakers will stay where they are in the Northeastern Athletic Conference. I agree that the NAC is a good place for the Lakers, but in my mind, I wonder why they even applied, just to turn it down. But I digress.
After the official word comes down, it will be time for sports fans, media members and coaches to dissect the breakdown of the conference and to pick apart what is wrong and what is right about the newly structured, three-tiered AAC.
I for one am a fan of the expansion and letting in these five (maybe six) teams into the conference. However, while I am not afraid of change, I'm also a fan of consistency and longevity.
Once this is finalized, I would like to not have to write a "who's in/who's out" story for many years. When teams jump in and out of conferences, it not only confuses everyone involved, but it doesn't let rivalries develop.
Let Harding and Howland develop a great crosstown, league-based, rivalry that this city is desperate to have. Boardman and Austintown Fitch have always been rivals, but now that they are in the same league again, the games will be that much more heated when conference standings are involved again. Then there are rivalries that could develop, but if the teams don't play each other for a consistent amount of time, they will never flourish.
The conference, on paper, looks like it's a winner. Now for everyone involved, let's keep it that way for many years.