Soccer adopts new CIAC rule to bump schools up

Good news, Old Lyme High School and fellow Class S girls' soccer teams you don't have to deal with Immaculate of Danbury this fall.

The CIAC soccer committee elected to apply a new format passed by the CIAC's Board of Control this spring that allows teams to be moved up a division or more based on their previous tournament success.

The format only applies to schools with project choice programs, or that draw from outside of their districts, i.e. charter, magnet, parochial, vocational technical, vocational agricultural and inter-district magnet schools.

Basketball was the first sport to adopt the format for the 2013-14 school year. It isn't mandatory, but each individual sport has the option to apply the rule.

Immaculate has been moved up two divisions to Class L.

"Some of these girls' teams dominate, like Immaculate of Danbury," tournament director Charles Sharos said. "They've won the title nine of the last 10 years. Some (Class) S schools have been complaining about this the last couple of years, that (Immaculate is) a Catholic school and can get kids that live all of the place."

Any team from a school that draws outside their boundaries who have advanced to the quarterfinals or beyond two of the last three years have been moved up one division, Sharos said. Those that have been to the quarterfinals each of the last three seasons were bumped up two divisions, the most any school could be moved this season.

The rule affects girls' soccer much more than boys. Only three boys teams moved up, Sharos said. Seven girls' teams were elevated, including two-time Class M champion Northwest Catholic of West Hartford being placed in Class LL.

There was a concern that the new format might alter tournaments for the worse.

"One of the big arguments against it, especially in the S division, is that there aren't enough teams to go around," Sharos said. "A lot of teams will almost get a bye into the quarterfinals. They might draw a really weak team in the second round, get into the quarterfinals, and automatically get pushed up (a division) if the committee decides that."

n.griffen@theday.com

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