Could the Southern Connecticut Conference eventually regain a 20th school for football?
According to The Day of New London columnist Mike DiMauro, East Lyme is seriously considering the SCC’s offer to join its league and depart from the Eastern Connecticut Conference. SCC commissioner Al Carbone confirmed that he is going to East Lyme on Jan. 15 to make a formal presentation.
“This is a school that has all the sports and already plays some of our schools,” Carbone said. “If a school has a full complement of sports and is willing to listen to us, we are going to pursue it.”
Carbone said the league met with certain ECC schools in May about scheduling partnerships, which led to further discussions between Carbone and East Lyme athletic director Steve Hargis about joining the league. In previous years, Carbone has had discussions with officials from Masuk and North Branford about joining the league, in addition to members of the Pequot Football Conference about joining for football only.
The SCC has 23 schools overall. Lauralton Hall was the last one to join on July 1.
Where East Lyme could really help the SCC is eliminating byes in the football schedules. This has been the case since Derby left to join the Naugatuck Valley League following the 2008 season.
East Lyme would likely be a Division II school, bringing that total to 10 under the current format, and 20 overall.
“It would help eliminate the need for a bye and keep it at one crossover game, which would make sense,” said one league athletic director. “You would play all the schools in your division and cross over once.”
SCC football drops one crossover week
Football scheduling has been a bone of contention in recent weeks, Carbone confirmed. Several proposals were made, including three schools moving from Division I to Division II. A source confirmed that the three schools looking to move down were Amity, Hamden and Wilbur Cross.
“No one wanted to move up,” Carbone said.
Sources confirmed that the biggest issue was the number of crossover games between the Division I and II schools. The Division I teams wanted it to remain at two and the Division II schools wanted none. Those same sources indicated a number of the Division II schools were going to explore options about departing the SCC, even possibly forming its own league.
“Those crossover games didn’t make sense 20 years ago, didn’t make sense 10 years ago and make less sense now,” the athletic director said. “As good as our top schools are, our bottom schools are worse. If we are supposed to be doing the right things for kids, we shouldn’t be playing those games. If we are in a league that doesn’t understand what we are talking about, does it make sense to stay in the league?”
An emergency meeting held on Dec. 22 reduced the crossovers for the 2015 season from two games to one, satisfying the Division II schools – for now.
“Going forward, we need a more permanent scheduling plan to address the transition between teams moving up and down. One of the concerns is the big discrepancy between Division I and Division II teams,” Carbone said.