MUHS girls’ softball, basketball teams move down to D-II

ADDISON COUNTY — Starting in the fall of 2013 and running for two academic years, the Middlebury Union High School softball and girls’ basketball and soccer teams will return to Division II, according to recent Vermont Principals’ Association decisions.
There will be no other changes for local teams in the so-called “core sports” of baseball, softball, soccer and basketball in the upcoming two-year cycle: The MUHS boys will remain in D-I in those sports, and all Mount Abraham, Otter Valley and Vergennes girls’ and boys’ teams will stay in D-II.
In those core sports, the VPA uses strictly numerical calculations to create four divisions with a roughly equal number of schools in each. Schools are allowed to petition to compete in higher divisions, but are no longer allowed to request hearings to make their case to compete in lower divisions. The VPA checks student counts every two years and realigns divisions.
The top 17 teams in terms of girls’ and boys’ enrollment in those four sports are automatically placed in D-I. MUHS has more boys than girls, and its boys’ teams in those sports will remain in D-I. But there are fewer girls, and those teams will drop to D-II for at least two years.
It is possible for teams to move down if enough teams from lower divisions petition to move up.
Committees or coaches’ associations recommend alignments to the VPA’s competition committee for all other sports, with the VPA’s decisions, almost always accepting of those recommendations, also effective for two years.
On Thursday, the Vermont Interscholastic Football League coaches made final a plan that will move OV from D-II to D-III. MUHS football will remain in D-I, which will become a 13-team league, and the cooperative Mount Abe-VUHS program will remain in D-III, which will become a 13-team league with the addition of OV, Springfield and U-32. U-32 was not set to go down in an initial proposal, but successfully petitioned the VIFL to drop down.
The D-I and D-III football leagues will have eight-team playoffs in each of the next two years — assuming the VPA signs off on the VIFL recommendations, which is all but certain — while the new eight-team D-II will keep its four-team postseason.

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