Legal hurdle hurts CW sports group

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer
Unforeseen legal issues could impact a local sports organization and Canal Winchester Joint Recreation District programming after operating under an agreement with Canal Winchester Schools.

Canal Winchester Board of Education member Adam Twiss said during the board’s March 11 meeting he believes the biggest sticking point in recent discussions with the CWJRD was the Tomahawks football program.

“They agreed to a one-year deal, the same deal they had last year, but the problem is there are no Port-a-Potties, no trash cans, and I believe the fields were not lined,” said Twiss. “That was the sticking point at that meeting. I was there at the meeting and they decided everything was going to come back through the CWJRD for the new season. Being the transition season this year, that would help transition into a new beginning, if you want to call it that.”

A letter was sent out to participants describing the situation. However, the district later discovered the CWJRD could not legally sublease facilities to the Tomahawks program.

“Previously, the CWJRD and Tomahawks had an agreement in leasing out the school and we can no longer do that,” said board member Vangela Barnes.

Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent Kiya Hunt said the district was informed they are unable to have facilities subleased, which is the situation with the district and their lease with the CWJRD, which subleases facilities to the Tomahawks.

“In this situation, we were told we could not have the CWJRD sublease our facilities,” Hunt said.

According to Barnes, the legal position is concerning, but she wanted to make sure that, as a school board, they are not against having a recreation league, but were forced to make changes to be compliant legally.

Eric McGhee, one of the founders of the six-year-old Tomahawk football program said, “It seems something that was going really well for the community has been thrown a curve ball and there’s no answers. Money, field space, and kids are the number one thing that’s been wildly overlooked in this. I think as a group, as a whole as the Tomahawks, we haven’t been given any answers and we’re trying to find out why these changes.”

McGhee said Tomahawks football teams are comprised of Canal Winchester kids, but added it feels like they’re being priced out and, as an organization, won’t be able to run football in the community.

“That kind of handcuffs us and puts us in a bad position in the community,” said McGhee. “I’m just looking for answers right now and I don’t feel like we’ve been given the proper channels.”

Board President Monica Talley said the board will take his concerns under advisement.
According to the Central Ohio Youth Athletic Association website, the Canal Winchester Tomahawks offer baseball for youths in grades three through six and football and cheerleading for kindergarten through grade six.

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