Section VI Football changes tune on league-based scheduling

Section VI reverses decision after pressure from Buffalo Public Schools and elected officials

Mike Baggerman
January 20, 2020 - 2:41 pm
Students play football outside Bennett High School. August 9, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Students play football outside Bennett High School. August 9, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Section VI Football has reversed its decision to change to league-based scheduling, a move that would have left five football teams within Buffalo Public Schools without any opponents outside of the city.

In a statement, Section VI President Adam Stoltman said that returning high school football to league-based play would have reduced travel time and costs for the 63 football teams and would have enhanced league rivalries. However, they acknowledged that they value the perspectives and concerns by Buffalo Public Schools.

"The Executive Committee believes that this morning's action to delay any implementation of the return to league-based play will provide an opportunity to engage in on-going meaningful dialogue with the BPS, as well as well as the Section’s other members, and to ultimately ensure that a return to league-based play addresses the concerns of the BPS while enhancing the opportunities and experiences of the student-athletes who participate in high school football within the Section," the statement said.

Section VI football's reversal of their decision earlier this month comes after several days of pressure and criticism, including a press conference held Monday at Bennett High School with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and other elected officials.

"(Reversing their decision) will cement the advances we have all made in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion goals across Western New York," Brown said hours before Section VI announced its reversal. "When we embrace these values, especially in the context of education and school sports, we communicate how vital these principles are to the prosperity of our city and the region and the formation of the next generation of leaders."      

Five schools, Bennett, Burgard, Hutch-Tech, McKinley, and South Park, used to play in the now-defunct Harvard Cup League, which disbanded a decade ago in favor of joining Section VI football. Mayor Brown said joining Section VI allowed for greater competition at schools and greater exposure for students to earn athletic scholarships. But the mayor also said that re-creating the Harvard Cup League would be impossible because the competitive landscape in Section VI has changed too much.

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