Local committee seeks to revive the Portage County League for high school athletes

A Suffield thrower launches a shot put at the Don Faix Invitational at Crestwood High School's newly renamed Bridget Franek Track on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

A small group of influential sports leaders is hoping to revive and update the Portage County League, building on the tradition of the original PCL, which was founded in 1922 and slowly dismantled over the last two decades.

Brittany Dye, Gregg Isler and Tom Nader have formed a committee and opened dialogue with several schools in Portage County and a few in nearby communities.

Isler, former Windham school superintendent, has stepped forward as league commissioner. Dye, Director of Volleyball Operations at Hiram College, and Nader, former Record-Courier sports editor, have committed to serving as assistant commissioners.

Isler said the committee’s vision for the new PCL is focused on the students.

“All student-athletes in the new conference will be provided experiences that allow for social, emotional and athletic growth through the competition and collaboration of the member schools,” he said in a statement.

The committee opened discussion with 11 area schools last week, presenting an outline to Crestwood, Field, Garfield, Mogadore, Lake Center Christian, Ravenna, Rootstown, Southeast, Springfield, Waterloo and Windham.

The draft emphasized education-based athletics and financial savings and stability as central tenets of the league, along with goals for prioritizing sportsmanship, equity, student-centered media coverage and leadership opportunities.

“Many districts are facing financial uncertainty and division among community members,” Dye said. “It is our hope that the new PCL can help address these issues by cutting costs and bringing people together again.”

“A lot of thought has been put into our plan, because we know the dynamics of the county’s districts are much different now than they were when the PCL last existed,” Nader said. “We want to appreciate and recognize the history of the old PCL, but more importantly we want to reinvent it to a better, modern version of itself.”

The committee began its social media presence at @PCL_NewVision on Twitter to overwhelmingly positive response (and much deliberation on the league’s original member schools).