PROVIDENCE â€” Monday afternoon saw the Rhode Island Interscholastic Leagueâ€™s Principalsâ€™ Committee on Athletics convene for one final time in 2011-12. Yet before this governing body could officially close the books on the just completed high school sports season, there was the matter of attending to several housekeeping chores.
Perhaps the most significant piece of legislation to come out of the 30-minute open session pertained to the unanimous approval of the two-year realignment for boysâ€™ hockey, which goes into effect next season. With Moses Brown deciding to withdraw its program from the RIIL and return to the New England Prep School circuit beginning in 2012-13, the hockey committee was faced with an interesting conundrum regarding the makeup of Division I.
Should the three remaining private schools â€“ Mount St. Charles, Hendricken and La Salle â€“ remain grouped together to form a high-powered Cimini League? In the same token, should the public schools competing in the stateâ€™s highest division continue to live under the same Eccleston League roof?
Sans the subtraction of one private school, the â€śseparate, but equalâ€ť format that was first unveiled last season will remain in place. The three Catholic schools will unite under the Cimini umbrella with the Mounties, Hawks and Rams squaring off against each other three times. The remaining 10 games will come against the five-team, public school Eccleston arrangement, which includes Burrillville, Barrington, Coventry, Cranston West and Smithfield.
In addition, Cimini teams are allowed to schedule two games against similar out-of-state competition, bringing the number of games to 18. Eccleston teams will also adhere to the same number of games by playing each other three times and crossing over two times with Cimini clubs.
Since there are only eight teams in Division I â€“ Lincoln High was granted its request to drop down to Div. II â€“ all of them automatically qualify for postseason play. Based on the power rating system, the top four teams would compete for the state championship with the next four in line for the Division I tournament championship. Such a â€śsecond seasonâ€ť configuration was in place this past March, when Division I conducted two tournaments.
Below are some other items discussed at Mondayâ€™s PCOA meeting at Rhode Island College:
â€“ Alignments for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years were approved for all winter sports. In girlsâ€™ basketball, St. Raphael and Lincoln are dropping down to Division II after each posted identical 8-10 records in Division I in 2011-12.
In Division I, you will have 15 teams spread over three divisions playing an 18-game schedule with the top 12 teams reaching the playoffs. In Division II, you have 24 teams spread over four divisions with the top 16 teams reaching the playoffs. In Division III, you have 10 teams that will play 18 games with the top six teams qualifying for postseason play.
â€“ In boysâ€™ basketball, there will be 15 teams in Division I and II with Division III housing 16 teams.
In girlsâ€™ hockey, the Emma/Division I segment includes MSC, La Salle and Bay View along with co-op entries from Warwick and Burrillville/Ponaganset. In the DeCosta/Division II faction, you have Lincoln in addition to co-ops from Cranston, South County and East Bay. A fifth squad â€“ Smithfield/North Smithfield â€“ is pending approval.
â€“ In boysâ€™ swimming, Mount St. Charles is dropping down to Division II. Itâ€™s interesting to note that Central Falls is still considered an active Division III participant. At Januaryâ€™s PCOA meeting, the request Central Falls made to drop boys and girls swimming was approved without penalty.
â€“ For coaches the PCOA instituted a new set of guidelines. For those coaches who were hired prior to Jan. 1, 2012, they are considered â€śgrandfathered,â€ť meaning they are only required to take courses in First Aid, Fundamentals in Coaching and Concussions.
For those hired after Jan. 1 of this present year, coaches will receive a state certificate that must be reviewed every five years, in addition to taking the aforementioned courses. In addition, new coaches must take a sport-specific course and attend an in-person course that is taught by someone approved by the RIIL.
â€“ The use of an ineligible player in an unspecified sport resulted in a $100 fine for Lincoln High School. In accordance with PCOA policy, the head coach has already fulfilled his one-game suspension.
â€“ The request made by the field hockey coachesâ€™ association to conduct an all-star game was unanimously approved.
â€“ The PCOA announced that complete funding in Unified Basketball and Volleyball will continue.