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Section VI pauses plan to implement league football scheduling

The planned switch to league scheduling is on hold for Section VI football, following an appeal from Buffalo Public Schools filed on Friday.

In an email Monday afternoon from executive director Timm Slade, Section VI announced it was suspending plans to change the scheduling and league format after an executive committee vote. Instead current federation-based format will remain in place for 2020-21.

The Section VI statement said the decision-making process to return to “league-based play” began in October 2019, but it had not been presented concerns from BPS until Friday’s appeal.

“In its appeal, BPS identified a need for ‘clear guidance, feedback and input from critical stakeholders.’” the Section VI statement read. “Because scheduling efforts are already underway for the 2020-21 football season, the Section VI Executive Committee voted this morning to suspend any implementation of league-based play in order to allow for further communication, input and guidance with regard to this matter, while alleviating any disruption and uncertainty with regard to the upcoming football season. As a result, Section VI high school football will continue under its federation-based alignment for the 2020-21 football season.”

The league scheduling plan also drew criticism from Olean and Dunkirk, the two Class B schools in CCAA, as both schools would have seen a significant increase in games against smaller schools.

Under federation alignment, schools play in a league based on school size, rather than location, such as Class B1, B2, B3 and B4, or C North and C South. That format will remain in place for at least a year, meaning no major changes for the Big 30 area’s Section VI schools.

Adam Stoltman, Section VI president, issued a statement within the press release explaining the executive committee decision, citing travel as an initial concern for the original change.

“The decision to return high school football to league-based play was carefully considered and followed a transparent process through which all Section VI members were provided opportunities for input,” Stoltman said. “Returning high school football to league-based play would reduce travel time and costs for the 63 football teams in Section VI, and would also enhance league rivalries, increase the significance of games for playoff eligibility, foster increased attendance and facilitate long-term scheduling. Nonetheless, the Section values the perspectives and concerns that have been presented by the Buffalo Public Schools as a continuing Section VI member.

“The Executive Committee believes that this morning’s action to delay any implementation of the return to league-based play will provide an opportunity to engage in on-going meaningful dialogue with the BPS, as well as the Section’s other members, and to ultimately ensure that a return to league-based play addresses the concerns of the BPS while enhancing the opportunities and experiences of the student-athletes who participate in high school football within the Section.”

Other Salamanca Schedule Notes:

- The new format would not have provided a significant change in scheduling for the Warriors (Gowanda/PV, Silver Creek/For, Portville, Catt/LV, Randolph, CSP, Frank/Ell)

- Post Journal: If Clymer/Sherman/Panama is going to three-peat as a New York State Public High School Athletic Association football champion next fall, the Wolfpack will have to do it in Class C. After repeating as Class D champions the past two seasons, Section VI confirmed recently that Clymer/Sherman/Panama will have to compete in Class C for the 2020 season -

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