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Woonsocket boys' soccer team heads to Div. I

January 24, 2012

The Interscholastic League’s Principals’ Committee on Athletics unanimously approved an alignment for the 2012 and 2013 seasons that results in Woonsocket moving up to Division I.

PROVIDENCE — Realigning the state’s high school football landscape wasn’t the only matter discussed at Monday’s meeting of the Interscholastic League’s Principals’ Committee on Athletics (PCOA). Below are a handful of noteworthy developments that came about during the 90-minute open session.
– In boys’ soccer, the PCOA unanimously approved an alignment for the 2012 and 2013 seasons that results in Tolman and Woonsocket moving up to Division I. The Villa Novans competed in Division I as recent as 2009, while the Tigers have predominantly resided in Division II.
Division I boys’ soccer features a 15-team arrangement with each squad playing everyone once as part of a 14-game schedule. The past two seasons have witnessed Div. I teams play 18 league games. The reduction in games stems from coaches wishing for more time to practice, noted RIIL executive director Tom Mezzanotte.
Tolman and Woonsocket join a league that includes La Salle, North Kingstown, Bishop Hendricken, South Kingstown, Shea, Cumberland, Barrington, Central Falls, Portsmouth, Chariho, Hope, East Providence, and Central.
With the exception of cross country, all fall sports were subject to the 70/30 realignment formula in which 70 represents a team’s win-loss record during an eight year stretch that dates back to 2004 and ended this past season. The 30-percent of the derivative is based on a school’s 2010 enrollment, depending if the sport pertains to males or females.
– On the subject of girls’ tennis, Cumberland is returning to Division II after spending the 2010 and 2011 campaigns in Division I, compiling a 2-24 record over that span.
The Div. I field was expanded to 13 teams, up from 10 a season ago. Teams in Division I and II will participate in two fewer matches than last season, 12 as opposed to 14. Division III teams will still adhere to a 14-game schedule.
– In field hockey, Woonsocket is bumping up to Division I while Cumberland and Burrillville are relocating to Division II.
– The topic of expanding to 15-minute periods for Boys’ Division III hockey and girls’ hockey for the 2012-13 season was revisited after initially being brought to the PCOA’s attention during the Nov. 14 meeting. Monday saw the request approved with six in favor of the two-year arrangement with five voting it down.
One of the committee members, Cranston East athletic director Mike Traficante, expressed concern that the additional minutes over the course of a season “could lead to more injured players.” Traficante also mentioned “the discrepancy in skill level” that confronts many city-based boys’ hockey teams in relation to fielding a competitive team with depth. Cranston East, Tolman, Woonsocket and East Providence all reside in Division III.
The increase in period length means that teams will now have to pay $2,000, up from $1,399.
– The PCOA unanimously approved an upgrade in coaching requirements that will only have bearing on new coaches at the varsity, junior varsity, and freshman levels. Mezzanotte clarified that a “new” coach is anyone who assumes the title following Jan. 1 of the current year. Coaches in place prior to Jan. 1 are considered grandfathered into the system.
In order to receive a coaching certificate, one must take the following classes: one put on by the Rhode Island Department of Education, one titled the Fundamentals of Coaching, one pertaining to First Aid/CPR and one about concussions. The cost of the classes – the concussion course is free – goes directly to the organizations providing the materials. Coaches must apply for renewal certification every five years.
Said Mezzanotte, “This takes a positive step towards the future for future coaches.”
– The committee altered the language pertaining to a student-athlete’s eligibility, saying that once the season begins, anyone “whose name appears on the eligibility list shall not play in any contest or any other school’s athletic team until one calendar week after the name has been removed from the official eligibility list. After one calendar week, the student-athlete’s name may be added to another athletic eligibility list.”
As part of the addendum, “any change in a sport by a student-athlete can not be made after 50 percent of the official RIIL schedule has been completed in the sport the student is leaving.”
– Mezzanotte made reference that the league last week conducted a meeting with the presidents of all the coaches associations for the various sports. The idea is to establish a statewide coaches association in order to “provide a voice for all coaches.”
– The committee denied the request of a Mount St. Charles parent to coach his daughter in volleyball during the offseason.
– Citing a lack of participation, the request Central Falls made to drop boys and girls swimming was approved without penalty.
– The request to hold the Division III boys and girls class meets on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 9:30 a.m. at Roger Williams University was approved. Typically, the league prefers to stay away from staging athletic competition prior to noon time on Sundays.
– Michael Whaley, the principal at Burrillville High School, was formally added as one of two new members to the PCOA.
– Division II baseball will have one fewer participant after Providence Country Day deciding to drop the program. The league will now include 23 teams.
– The committee approved the co-op between North Smithfield and Burrillville for boys and girls lacrosse.

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