Vermont high school football teams change divisions

MONTPELIER — As expected, the Otter Valley Union High School football program will be moving back to Division II after many years in D-III, in the last three of which the Otters have reached the championship game and won one title.
Meanwhile, at a Dec. 6 meeting at the Vermont Principals’ Association’s Montpelier headquarters, the Vermont Interscholastic Football League adopted an alignment that will, also as expected, leave Middlebury in D-I and the Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative team in D-II.
According to meeting minutes, the coaches also, over the protests of the schools involved, moved Burlington and Mount Mansfield up to D-I from D-II. Burlington had enjoyed success in D-II, and the vote went 16-12 against their appeal to remain.
The coaches voted in favor of Mount Mansfield’s appeal to stay down in D-II, 18-10, but the margin fell short of the two-thirds majority required for an appeal to be successful. Mount Mansfield officials argued that the program’s Quality Points Rating (QPR) over the past four years was 24th out of the 32 schools active in all four.
They did back unanimously Rice Memorial’s petition to stay in D-I. Rice had fought the move to D-I two years ago, but requested to stay, according to minutes, because “they feel that they can be competitive in this division and they have found that the team and coach want to compete at the highest division.”
After Mount Anthony was dropped to D-II and U-32 was promoted to D-II along with OV, that means there will be 13 teams in D-I and 11 in D-II, with eight remaining in D-III.
D-I will consist of Middlebury, Rutland, Essex, Champlain Valley, BFA-St. Albans, Hartford, St. Johnsbury, Burlington, Colchester, South Burlington, Brattleboro, Mount Mansfield and Rice.
D-II will include OV, Mount Abe/VUHS, Burr & Burton, Mount Anthony, Spaulding, U-32, Lyndon, North Country, Bellows Falls, Milton and Fair Haven.
D-III will include Missisquoi, Woodstock, Mill River, Springfield, Windsor, the Poultney/Mount St. Joseph cooperative team, BFA-Fairfax and Oxbow.
The coaches did discuss four equal divisions, but a motion to establish that approach was withdrawn after a majority spoke against it.

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