Engagement Broken Off -- Tewksbury Puts DCL Application On Hold
Meeting with DCL athletic directors scheduled for Monday has been postponed as MVC athletic directors circle the wagons.
The engagement is off before the wedding date could even be set.
Tewksbury High athletic director Brian Hickey confirmed on Thursday that the TMHS athletic program's application for admission into the Dual County League has been placed "on hold" for at least the time being.
Hickey confirmed that a meeting scheduled for next Monday, May 23, between the DCL athletic directors and the athletic directors from the four school systems invited to join the DCL, has been postponed indefinitely.
On Monday, the DCL invited just four of the 10 teams that had applied for admission into the league to join the DCL in time for the 2013 season. But reaction to the invitation of just four schools -- Tewksbury, Chelmsford, Billerica and North Andover -- has been mixed.
"We talked things over and I think one of the things is that the invitation of just three teams from the (Merrimack Valley Conference) didn't quite match what we felt the vision was," Hickey said. "We were hoping they'd go with at least 17 or 18 teams in a three-tiered league. We were hoping to bring with us a little bit more of an MVC identity, similar to what the hockey league looks like."
In ice hockey, the DCL and the MVC joined forces seven years ago and formed a three-tiered league that matches up schools with similar enrollments in the same division. The relative strength of each program is considered in divisional placement in the MVC/DCL ice hockey league too.
For instance, Lowell High has an enrollment of over 3300 students, but because the LHS hockey program has not been a traditionally strong program, Lowell competes in Division 3 in the MVC/DCL hockey league. Tewksbury, on the other hand, has an enrollment of just 920 students, but because the TMHS hockey program has traditionally been very competitive, Tewksbury competes in Division 2 in the MVC/DCL, against six other towns with enrollments 50-75% higher than Tewksbury's.
"The success of the hockey model is what prompted the original meetings and discussions," Hickey said. "But with just four teams invited (to join the 10 remaining DCL teams) I think we fell short of what we were hoping to accomplish."
With only four additional teams joining, the new look DCL would have had 14 teams that were to have been split into just two divisions.
Tewksbury has not withdrawn its application, according to Hickey. Tewksbury has, however, asked for more time to consider its options.
"I, for one, would be willing to talk with anybody about anything that benefits the kids," Hickey said. "But (the DCL invitiation) wasn't really how I envisioned the move being structured. It moves us away from some of the teams we have a long history with, 60 or 70 years in some cases. I think the multi-tiered idea had merit. I'm not sure the idea of a limited amount of teams had merit."
Hickey does forsee continued discussion with the DCL in the coming weeks, however.
"I think as reasonable people we can continue to talk and see if we can come to an agreement," Hickey said. "Remember, discussions like these have been going on for probably 10 years. I thought we were ready to take the next step, but as presented, I don't think we can pursue it at this moment."