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ECIC to vote on whether to admit Buffalo football teams into circuit

The Buffalo Public Schools should know Tuesday whether it has found a home for its football teams.

Mark DiFilippo, executive director of the Erie County Interscholastic Conference and former athletic director at Williamsville East, said that the 32 members of the organization’s athletic council will vote in the morning on BPS’ application to have its five teams join the ECIC for football only. DiFilippo said he does not have a vote.

The Buffalo schools petitioned ECIC for membership after last week’s announcement by Section VI that it was shifting responsibility of scheduling for football to each member’s respective league.

That means instead of the Section VI Football Federation continuing the decades-old method of compiling schedules for its members and dividing them into divisions based on class size, leagues like the Niagara Frontier League, which has mostly Class A-sized schools and one Class AA, and CCAA, which has two Class B schools and mostly Cs and Ds, will take care of schedules for its teams and division alignments.

A new Point Rating Index, different than the old Harbin System, will determine postseason seeding in each of the five classifications.

It should be noted that NFL officials voted in favor of the proposal, while CCAA counterparts voted against it.

The main issue for Buffalo schools is that it disbanded its football league 10 years ago to join the Section VI Football Federation. The perks to BPS since disbanding Harvard Cup have been seeing how its athletes stacked up against suburban counterparts, thereby increasing exposure to potential college recruiters, the Federation taking care of scheduling along with postseason all-star teams and the schools having the chance to compete in the Section VI for championships with Sweet Home, Lancaster and Orchard Park, among other schools.

South Park has won two Section VI Class A titles and a New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association championship, all since 2015. Bennett also has won a sectional title and appeared in four finals since 2014. McKinley appeared in its first sectional final last fall, losing to South Park in the first Section VI football title game to involve two city schools.

Buffalo Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Anibal Soler said the district has only applied for entry into ECIC.

Should the county circuit deny the application, BPS still could apply for membership into the Niagara Frontier League for its football teams.

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