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The Lights go out for Mansfield

During those days, the Great Depression forced many athletic budgets into the red. Since their only method of financing high school sports was through gate receipts, the newest hope of bolstering the attendance was to play night games. In 1930 Ashland played Marion on the lighted field, the site of old Redwood Stadium, at Ashland College. It was the first night game in the NCOL and only a year after the first night game in Ohio at Salem.

When the 1937 schedule was released Marion and Galion announced that all their home games would be played at night. Mansfield refused to play the October 2nd Marion game at night. Their concern was for the safety of the players and the spectators. Regardless, the NCO delegates adopted a rule that "the home team shall have the authority to set the time of play." Nonetheless, the Mansfield Board of Education supported the stand by their athletic board.

At the April 19, 1937 NCOL meeting in Galion K.H. Marshall, the Marion principal, league President, and one of the founding fathers in 1919, in a lengthy talk made it clear that Mansfield's membership was no longer desired. According to Bill McKee, the sport editor of the Ashland Times-Gazette, the Tigers were "forced out." S.F. Jameson, Ashland principal, told the other league officials that "they were making a mistake, and one that they would regret in a few years." When all was said and done, the old-timers said that the underlying reason was Mansfield was too powerful. They had won nine football championships, and they were playing Paul Brown's Massillon teams.

No vote was taken, but Mansfield's Principal Jesse Beer announced that they would be forced to withdraw if the conference made any attempt to enforce the night football rule. A week later Marshall notified Beer that Marion "is relieving Mansfield of its obligation." Mt. Vernon likewise informed Beer that they would break relations with Mansfield, too. Thus, in 1937 the NCOL became an "owl league" with all their games at night on Fridays. Throughout the entire history of high school football games they were mostly played on Saturday afternoons. It ended here in the NCOL.