The extent to which athletically based financial aid is offered by some members of Baltimore's private school league is the central issue of consideration in a proposed football merger between the Washington-based Interscholastic Athletic Conference and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, according to IAC president Tom Farquhar.
"The idea that there would be some scholarships based purely on a student's athletic ability is an approach that's different from the approach that we've taken," said Farquhar, who is head of Bullis School of Montgomery County in Potomac.
MIAA bylaws "recommend that financial aid be need-based," said MIAA executive director Rick Diggs. "But there is a stipulation that if some criteria are met, [athletic] merit-based scholarships can be given. The IAC does not have this policy."
"All of the scholarships in the IAC are need-based," said Farquhar, adding that the IAC hopes to make a decision during its meeting Nov. 16, a week before the MIAA deadline of Nov. 23.
"I see a lot to like about the merger," Farquhar said. "Based on the information that we've received from the MIAA to the extent that there are any non-need-based scholarships in their league, they are relatively small in proportion to the total."
Diggs said the only deal-breaker would be if at least two of the six IAC teams do not enter the MIAA's A Conference - considered the most difficult of the league's three divisions - while the other four join the MIAA in a way yet to be determined.
Team works for Lions
"Team" has been the simple motto for Maryvale's field hockey squad this season, and it has paid off.
The Lions, who were 1-15 last season, have improved to 12-2-2 and jumped into The Sun's Top 15 for the first time this week.
A drop from the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference to the B Conference helped, but the Lions are seeing many of the same opponents. Six other teams also fell to the B Conference, in which the Lions hold onto first place at 8-1-1.
The Lions' attack is so balanced that 12 of the 15 players on the roster have scored goals. They also have a strong defense built around Katie Moore, Mary LeNoir and Mary Kate Lavin.
First-year coach Duane Verderaime, an assistant for three years, gave senior captains Moore, Maeve McKew and Lauren Eberling credit for creating a winning atmosphere.
"With these three, it's really an entirely different team," said Verderaime, who graduated 11 seniors from last year's team. "These three have everybody so pumped up and ready to take on anybody. They've really been pushing the total team effort."
On Monday, the Lions hope to avenge their only B Conference loss in a rematch with Park. They will test the A Conference waters on Tuesday, facing No. 10 Notre Dame Prep, before heading into next week's B Conference tournament.
C Conference clincher
With one game to play tomorrow, Mount de Sales' field hockey team has already clinched the IAAM C Conference regular-season title.
At 11-0 in the conference, the Sailors have blended exceptional firepower with a superb defense to rise to the top in only their fourth season as a varsity program.
The Sailors (15-3 overall) boast two of the top scoring players in the metro area: Paige Hoffen with 14 goals and 17 assists and Danielle Rhinehart with 12 of each.
Coach Pat Payne's team is backed by goalie Jenny Hackett, who has turned in some fine performances, including 22 saves in Monday's loss to Maryvale. Brittany Jacobs and Brittany Pevo lead the defense, and Caitlin Hoffen paces the midfield.