Several recent proposals have been made to try to change how games are scheduled and divisions set up in the Southern Connecticut Conference.
The four-division setup of Hammonasset, Housatonic, Quinnipiac and Oronoque has been in place since 2004 with an 18-game schedule counting toward the league tournament.
Among the proposals the 10-person scheduling committee has come up with is ranking the teams 1-20 based on performance over a five-year period. This is not just for boys basketball, but also for girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, baseball and softball — which means there would be different division setups for each sport.
“The scheduling committee came up with these proposals in February and distributed to the athletic directors for discussion,” SCC commissioner Al Carbone said. “They were then instructed to communicate these proposals to their coaches.”
The proposal ranking the SCC boys basketball teams in order would result in:
• Division 1: Hillhouse, Fairfield Prep, Career, Xavier and Wilbur Cross.
• Division 2: Notre Dame, Hamden, West Haven, Cheshire and Branford.
• Division 3: Hand, Sheehan, Amity, Lyman Hall and Foran.
• Division 4: Guilford, Shelton, North Haven, Law and East Haven.
“When you have the divisions like we have them, there is no room to move anywhere,” East Haven coach Ricky Narracci said. “Cross and Career have dominated the Oronoque, Hillhouse has dominated the Hammonasset and the Housatonic doesn’t have any city or Catholic schools in it, so there is a little bit of imbalance there. This proposal gives room for teams to move up and down.”
Each team would play eight division games home and away, six crossover games home and away and likely just two interdivision games. That would leave four outside games to fill a 20-game schedule rather than just two.
“I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback going to a 16-game schedule. I am in favor of it,” Carbone said. “The league is competitive enough. We should seriously look at it.”
The schedules are set for the fall season, so if anything changes, it would go into effect for the fall of 2016. Even if nothing changes for next winter, going to a 16-game schedule with the current division setup is a possibility, Carbone said. Narracci likes the idea of 16 games versus 18.
Hand coach Frank Rossi likes the Hammonasset Division because the Tigers face their rival Guilford twice a year and because “we’ve had good success in our division.” But the drawback to how games are currently scheduled is not playing certain teams for a long period of time.
“We haven’t played Lyman Hall ever since I’ve been at Hand (eight seasons) and hadn’t played Fairfield Prep before this season,” Rossi said. “Trying to keep natural rivalries together, I think that’s important too. One of the issues I would be concerned with is Guilford is not in my division.”
Rossi thinks the proposal makes travel worse.
“Why would I want to go out to Wallingford twice?” Regarding the 16-game schedule, he said, “I would like to see what I am giving up before I say yes.”
Rossi does agree the value of a division title is not what it once was.
“I don’t think division titles carry much weight anymore,” he said. “It’s just an opportunity to say we won our division.”
Carbone said keeping natural rivalries together will factor into any final decision. Also, he said he would help try to schedule matchups with the newly formed Southeastern Connecticut Athletic Conference: Ledyard, New London, Fitch and East Lyme. Those four teams will break away from the Eastern Connecticut Conference, which has had several other members apply to join the North Central Connecticut Conference and Shoreline Conference in recent weeks.
“What’s going on with the new league in the eastern part of the state would weigh heavily on what we are going to do,” Carbone said. “My goal as commissioner is to keep the league intact and provide our schools more opportunities to play competitive (non-league) games while still keeping a very competitive league schedule.”
The league’s board of governors meeting will be held May 7. Any proposal would need 75 percent approval in order to pass.