Goodbye Tri-Valley League crossover games. Hello Tri-Valley League 1-4 playoffs.
With Sharon Springs Central School set to move from the Western Athletic Conference to the T-V for the 2015-2016 season, the league will combine divisions and replace the crossover games with a postseason week for each sport similar to the playoffs in the Midstate Athletic Conference.
“Sharon Springs is indeed entering the Tri-Valley for the 2015-2016 season and we are happy to have them,” said T-V president Bill Dorritie. “Since that gives us 11 teams and would lead to unbalanced divisions and scheduling issues, we are doing what other leagues like the MAC are doing.”
League seasons will consist of ten games per sport, with each of the 11 teams playing each other once. The league has been split into two five-team divisions, East and West, with each team playing division opponents twice and non-division opponents once, for 13 league games.
“This type of schedule also allows schools to enter more tournaments, play more non-league games, etc.,” Dorritie said.
There will still be a title game for each sport, but the top four league teams will qualify for a four-team playoff. The top seed will host the fourth seed, two will host three, and the winners will move on to a title game.
Dorritie said title games will still be played in Oneonta, at the Wright National Soccer Campus for soccer and at Oneonta State for other sports. Other playoff games will take place at the higher seeds’ home courts or fields.
In addition to the 1-4 playoff, there will be 5-8 playoffs for the next four teams in the league. The teams that finish 9, 10 and 11 will also play a round-robin tournament.
Dorritie said he has heard lots of positive feedback about the change from coaches and athletic directors.
“There have been several years where the two best teams in our league for a given sport are in the same division and therefore haven’t been able to play each other to determine a ‘true’ champion,” he said.
Cherry Valley-Springfield athletic director Tom Brigham said he likes the changes for the reasons Dorritie mentioned.
“I am in favor of the new alignment for the T-V. I think the two best teams will play for the championships,” he said.
The Spartans will also switch from Section Two to Section Four to complete the move, which was approved last month by the SSCS Board of Education. T-V and Section Four officials have also approved the move.
Sharon Springs officials have been pushing the switch for several years, according to several news reports. The Schoharie County school, which is on Route 20, has been struggling to compete with larger schools in the WAC. Sharon Springs and Northville are the only D schools in the WAC.
“We’ve relished our role as a small Class D school that competes with pride against larger C schools, but there are some traditional powerhouses in the Tri-Valley League so the competition would still be there,” SSCS Superintendent Pat Green told the TimesJournal Online.
“It would just give us a chance to be more successful,” he said.
The Spartans have also looked to combine sports in the past, including holding conversations with CV-S about spring sports. However Brigham said that the Patriot programs are not in need of mergers.
“At CV-S our numbers for softball are back up and, of course, we always have a lot of kids out for track,” Brigham said. “Our varsity baseball signups are up, but modified baseball is probably where the numbers are small for both us and Sharon Springs.”
The T-V has had 10 teams since 2010, when Richfield Springs left the Center State Conference and Section Three to join. School officials said the need to play against smaller schools was a reason for the switch. Unlike the WAC or the CSC, of which Cooperstown is a member, all of the teams in the T-V are in Class D.