The realignment marching orders are set for a group of Rhode Island high school sports that are champing at the bit to get back into the swing of things.
On Monday, the RIIL’s Principals’ Committee on Athletics met and agreed to realignment proposals to spring sports that will compete during the fourth and final season of the 2020-21 academic year.
Baseball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls outdoor track, boys volleyball and boys tennis were approved unanimously. Softball was the lone spring sport to receive a vote that opposed the practice of four divisions for the upcoming season.
Regarding wrestling, which was pushed off to the spring season but remains a high-risk sport per the DEM, no discussions took place during Monday’s Principals' Committee meeting.
Below is a breakdown of where things stand for the sports that are nearing the end of a two-year waiting period due to COVID-19:
Division I will consist of four subdivisions (A, B, C, D) with five teams in each. Chariho will play in the B subdivision with South Kingstown, Central and East Providence.
Schedule-wise, D-I teams will play every team in their subdivision twice. Teams in the B subdivision will match up against all the teams in D. That brings teams to 13 league games with a game cap of 15.
For the playoffs, teams must complete eight league games to be eligible. The top four teams in each subdivision seeded by winning percentage will qualify.
Similar to two years ago, single elimination will be in place for the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds. The semifinals will be stretched to a best-of-three series but can be cut down to a winner-take-all game in the event of poor weather. The finals are best-of-three.
Division II is using the same regular-season breakdown (four five-team subdivisions, A crosses over with C, B with D) and playoff format as Division I.
Westerly is in the B group with Prout, Barrington, Rogers and Classical.
For the first team in RIIL history, softball is a four-division sport.
In Division I, there are 11 teams based in one division. Everyone squares off once (10 games) and against a duplicate game where the opponent comes from your regional pod.
Chariho, St. Raphael, La Salle, Coventry, Moses Brown, East Providence, Cumberland, Pilgrim, North Providence and Cranston West will be in D-I.
The D-I playoff format represents a change from past practices. The double-elimination format won’t come into play until there are four teams left. The preliminaries and quarters are single elimination. D-I teams must complete nine games to merit eligibility. If all 11 teams reach that threshold, they’ll qualify for the postseason.
In Division II, 16 teams are broken down into North and South subdivisions. Westerly is in Division II-South with Prout, Barrington, Barrington, South Kingstown, Bay View, Rogers, Portsmouth and Toll Gate.
Division II teams will play every team in their subdivision twice (14 games, no crossovers). Teams must complete nine games with postseason invitations being handed out to the top six in each subdivision. The D-II playoff format is similar to Division I.
Chariho will be play in a nine-team Division I that will play everyone once for eight league games and two randomly assigned games that increase the game cap to 10 league contests. The top seven teams advance to the playoffs.
Westerly is part of a Division II landscape that includes 12 teams where everyone squares off once. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
In the 10-team Division II, Chariho will play every team once. The top eight reach the playoffs providing they get through six of the nine league games on the schedule.
Westerly will play in the 10-team Division III. The top eight teams qualify for the postseason, but must play at least six league games.
Westerly and Chariho will play in an 11-team Division II.
The top eight qualify for the postseason, but must play a minimum of eight league contests.
Westerly and Chariho will play in a 10-team Division III. Every team will play each other once.
The top eight teams qualify for the postseason, but must play six league contests to make it.
Similar to Division I, the top eight teams in the other three divisions would be playoff-bound.
Teams will participate in four dual meets (May 10, May 17, May 24, June 1). Unlike the indoor season, there will be a division championship meet (June 5) and a class championship meet (June 12). The state meet is scheduled for June 26.
To get the regular season accomplished, the PCOA agreed that golf teams can begin their season on April 12. The move was done due to the availability of Cranston Country Club for the two-day state championship that traditionally takes place the Tuesday and Wednesday after Memorial Day. The RIIL doesn’t have the option of moving this particular championship to late June.