Multiple schools in Rockland County are in preliminary discussions about the possibility of moving all athletic programs to Section 9 for the 2014-2015 school year.
According to Tappan Zee athletic director Liam Frawley, Rockland County schools have explored the move over the past month. Frawley, who is president of Section 1's Rockland conference, said the talks are in a very early stages. He added that the schools are trying to get the information “straight from the horse’s mouth” in terms of how the change would affect each and every district.
“We have been talking about it, but it’s not a reactive move,” said Frawley, who is in his eighth year as athletic director at Tappan Zee. “There are a few reasons; the bridge has always been an issue and now with the new bridge coming in the future, we have to look at things like traffic and scheduling.
"Filling schedules has been a problem for teams in the past with the river being a deterrent, so we’re looking into the possibility of traveling north as opposed to east. We’re really just bouncing around some ideas as a group on how can we make things better for ourselves.”
The schools have until November 30, 2013 to make a decision on the move, and would have to individually apply and then be accepted by Section 9 for it to become official. According to Frawley, each and every school will have internal talks and then meet together to formulate a decision that best suits their needs.
“This will go all the way up the line to the superintendents of the schools, so we need to get as much information as we can,” Frawley said. “This isn’t a situation where every school must agree to leave — a handful of schools could stay or go. These are really informal discussions about a number of factors. Scheduling, transportation and the economic repercussions of both staying and leaving will have to be looked at very carefully by each school. Right now, we’re just looking at facts.”
The Rockland schools were once a part of Section 9 before moving over to Section 1 in the 1980s. In 1983-84, all Rockland schools — sans Nanuet, which transferred to Section 1 solely for football in 1976 — moved to Section 1 for regular season games, but competed in the playoffs in Section 9. The following season, the conference moved over to Section 1 for the regular season and the playoffs.
“We would be very disappointed,” Section 1 Executive Director Jennifer Simmons said. “We feel like we provide them excellent opportunities and competition. There’s a lot of value in both sides. We have four conferences in the section and Rockland is its own conference. They make up a quarter of what we do.”
Frawley insisted that the move had nothing to do with Section 1, but that the conference had already contacted the section regarding the discussions. In 2011-2012, six Rockland teams won Section 1 championships and Suffern went on to win a state championship in hockey.
“This is not a knock on Section 1," Frawley said. "This is just a discussion about what is best for us. I think Rockland County as a whole has fared well in Section 1 and we’ve been very comfortable. But I’ve spoken with some coaches and they seemed intrigued with the idea as well.
"It has big potential and it is new, but we need to be responsible to our program and our communities. I like what I’m seeing so far. We just want to investigate instead of speculate.”
Rockland County schools currently in Section 1
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