Sunday, May 14, 2000

School in sports limbo

District split has Verity awaiting affiliation

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN — Because Monroe Schools is splitting away from the Middletown/Monroe district, Verity Middle School will be temporarily homeless as far as a sports league affiliation.

        Meanwhile, Monroe Schools must gain approval to stay in the Hornets' longtime league home.

        Now a participant in the Mid-Miami League, Verity will leave that organization July 1 when Middletown/ Monroe Schools separates into two districts. Verity will become a feeder school exclusively to Middletown High School, a longtime Greater Miami Conference member. Now Verity feeds both to Lemon-Monroe High School, a charter member of the Mid-Miami League, and to Middletown high schools.

        Last week, the GMC approved Verity's application to join the league, effective with the 2001-02 school year, said Walt Simpkins, athletic director for the Middletown/Monroe Schools.

        The MML will call a meeting in the next two weeks to decide whether to continue Lemon-Monroe's league status and whether to allow the new Monroe Middle School to assume Verity's MML schedule for the 2000-01 school year, said Jack Poore, MML president and Springboro High School principal.

        “You usually start planning schedules a year in advance,” Mr. Simpkins said. “We'll start planning the 2001 (fall sports) schedule in a couple of months. They'll be worked in.”

        Sitting out a year of league affiliation doesn't bother Ronald Gillem, Verity's assistant principal and athletic director. The school will lose about half of its students who live in Monroe and will need to rebuild its athletic program.

        Already, Mr. Gillem has put together a schedule of six football games with schools that had open spots on their schedules for nonleague games. He's almost finished scheduling for volleyball and basketball as well. Some are GMC schools, others MML and some neither.

        “It was tricky scheduling. I won't know exactly how many teams we'll have or who will be on them until August. I might not have coaches until then either, depending on where (which district) they go to,” Mr. Gillem said. “I don't want us to go up against any powerhouses that might humiliate us while we're rebuilding.”

        Another concern will be setting up a field for home games. Verity has no stadium. Its home games had been played at Lemon-Monroe, Mr. Gillem said.

        The school has a field it can use, but only one set of bleachers.

        “I'm not sure yet how we can cordon off areas so we can collect admissions,” Mr. Gillem said. “It will just be interesting. We might have combined (seventh/eighth grade) teams or separate. I just don't know yet.”


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