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.