Realignment comes but once every two years in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, and the RIIL knows how to make it count every time.
Spring is here, the warm weather is coming and the RIIL is moving teams up and down divisions like the spacebar key on its keyboard is broken.
The league added a third division to the girls’ lacrosse field – a solid idea – then oddly placed Division II contenders Narragansett and Pilgrim in the new Division III, while keeping Warwick Vets – which went winless last year – in Division II.
In baseball, Vets won eight games last year in Division I, made the playoffs and gave eventual runner-up South Kingstown a run for its money, then was rewarded with an unwanted move down to Division II.
D-II also claimed D-I playoff team Chariho, and seven-win Mount St. Charles, which was extremely competitive in D-I since moving up before the 2011 season, but was dropped back down for no explicable reason that I can see other than someone getting bored with the status quo.
Meanwhile, toiling away in D-II is Prout, which has reached the Division II state championship series in each of the past five seasons. The Crusaders have gone 78-12 combined in the last six years, and what’s their prize?
Well, nothing. They stay in Division II, which makes about as much sense as crab-walking the Boston Marathon.
The RIIL will likely cite enrollment as a reason for keeping Prout down in D-II, even though Prout’s enrollment is roughly 100 fewer than that of Moses Brown, which went 6-12 in Division I last year but stayed put.
And Mount St. Charles – which was better than Moses Brown last year, for the record – with an enrollment of just shy of 1,000, is down in D-II as well.
To recap: Mount St. Charles has more students and a better record than Moses Brown, yet moved down to Division II while Moses Brown stayed up in Division I. The enrollment argument doesn’t really hold water.
In a Rhode Island high school sports landscape that actually made sense, all three teams would be in Division I. Instead, just one is.
Talk about getting absolutely no where. The RIIL realignment process is probably a lot like what the TV show South Park claimed Family Guy does to come up with ideas – have a bunch of manatees push random idea balls around a tank.
Should I even mention that Pilgrim field hockey is still in Division I?
In the league’s defense, they did do a nice job with boys’ volleyball. Pilgrim, Exeter/West Greenwich and Barrington all moved up to Division I from Division II, and they probably should have given all the success the three schools had in D-II.
Plus, from people I’ve talked to, it sounds like they had a choice in the move, which is nice because communication on these matters is something that is rarely there.
That brings me back to baseball, where I know for a fact that Warwick Vets had no say in whether or not it stayed in Division I or dropped down to Division II.
It’s an embarrassing double standard. In volleyball they talked it out and in baseball they laid down the law with no wiggle room.
Perhaps they should just stick to a formula (enrollment + wins over a certain span), and supplement that with input from the coaches. If the league did that, maybe everyone wouldn’t be 100-percent happy, but I wouldn’t get daily complaints (almost all of which are valid) from coaches and parents about their teams being horribly out of place either.
Rocket science, it is not. Unfortunately, it’s also a pipe dream, because at this point the only thing as annoying as all the ridiculous reshuffling is the fact that it won’t change.
Kevin Pomeroy is the assistant sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 and firstname.lastname@example.org.