Howard County league to form two divisions

Basketball among 4 sports to adopt new format in '06

High Schools

August 20, 2004|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Following the footsteps of some of its larger neighbors, Howard County will institute a two-division format for four sports beginning in the fall of 2006.

Don Disney, the coordinator of athletics for the county, said the county's 12 varsity programs in volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball will play in two divisions, with the division winners meeting in a regular-season-ending county championship game.

There are currently 11 varsity programs in the county, but Marriott's Ridge, a new high school in Marriottsville that is expected to open by the fall of 2005, will begin fielding varsity programs in the fall of 2006.

Disney said the concept - which mirrors similar formats in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties - eases scheduling concerns that would have been created by 12 varsity programs.

"You can't play everybody in a double round-robin format," said Disney, adding that the plan applies only to volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball because those sports play more than 12 games against county opponents. "With this, you have equity."

The makeup of the divisions won't be determined until the county's athletic directors meet on Nov. 23, but Disney said the divisions could be based on school size.

He also did not rule out using geographic dividers.

In basketball, baseball and softball, teams would play their divisional opponents twice and rivals in the other division once.

Volleyball, which is limited to 15 regular-season games, would likely allow four games between non-divisional teams - determined by a draw - with an out-of-county game squeezed in.

In all four sports, participation in out-of-county tournaments are exempt from caps on regular-season games imposed by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

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