Woodstock asks ECC for relief in football

Eastern Connecticut Conference athletic directors have granted a request by Woodstock Academy to move its struggling football program from the Large Division to the Small Division for the next two seasons.

The move, pending approval by the league's principals next month, will keep the Centaurs in the Small Division during the next two-year, enrollment-based alignment cycle, which begins during the 2013-14 academic year.

Athletic directors voted on Woodstock's move, plus the new divisional alignments in all sports, during its annual fall meeting on Tuesday.

"Woodstock came into the meeting with a request to seek relief in football," said Ledyard AD Jim Buonocore. "When a league member requests help, if it doesn't impact anyone else in a negative manner the league will do anything it can to allow a request to be granted."

Despite having 15 football schools, ADs opted to go with an unbalanced 4-6-5 divisional format because no Medium Division school wanted to replace Woodstock in the Large.

If accepted, the new divisions for football would be as follows: Large - East Lyme, Fitch, New London, Norwich Free Academy; Medium - Bacon Academy, Killingly, Ledyard, Montville, Stonington, Waterford; Small - Griswold, Plainfield, St. Bernard/Norwich Tech, Windham.

The two biggest changes are Windham's move from the Medium to the Small in all sports and Killingly's move from the Small to the Medium.

Buonocore said Killingly and Ledyard were the only two schools to show gains in attendance for the upcoming cycle. Other changes of note, Buonocore said, were Griswold opting to move up to the Medium in softball (Montville will move to the Small), and New London's decision to play basketball in the Medium Division (the Whalers opted to play up during the present alignment cycle).

"Other than small minor instances everyone is placed according to the new enrollment numbers," said Buonocore. "That, according to our by-laws, is how we operate."

The new 2012-13 enrollment figures were submitted to the CIAC on Oct. 1.

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