Proctor joins Rome in going with independent status

UTICA — With their ongoing attempts to try and become accepted into the Tri-Valley League, Proctor High School followed Rome Free Academy’s lead by deciding to compete as an independent during the 2010-11 season during a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

RFA, which after numerous attempts to also join the TVL schools, announced their independence about a month ago during their school board meeting with the intentions of find a league better suited geographically and competitively than current arrangements while competing against Syracuse-area based teams in the Central New York Counties League.

The only sports not to be affected for Rome will be football, hockey, indoor track and field, and gymnastics next season, which are scheduled separately by Section III officials.

Also, swimming and diving should not be affected by the move to independence because the district is hoping to confirm the sport’s new associate membership in the regional Frontier League.

Rome as well as Utica Proctor have attempted to join the local TVL twice in the past 15 months, but both times the TVL has their has rejected their requests citing concerns about the two districts’ larger size.

"This is a joint venture that we are pursuing along with Rome," Proctor athletic director Marty Nemecek said.

"This is strictly a financial move and a move to help with transportation and help get students home in time to focus on their homework and not get home too late at night," he added.

"By going Independent we are now able to schedule some local contests and help instill some old rivalries with the surrounding areas."

TVL officials have repeatedly denied Proctor and RFA entry into their league, primarily because those schools have substantially larger enrollments than TVL members Camden, New Hartford, Whitesboro, Oneida, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, Clinton, Notre Dame, and Holland Patent.

According to Section III’s student enrollment numbers, Proctor has the second-largest enrollment amongst all of Section III schools with 2,070 students, while RFA is sixth overall with 1,288 students.

TVL member Holland Patent has a total of 421 students enrolled while Clinton is the lowest enrollment numbers amongst TVL teams with 397.

Nemecek noted the TVL’s stance when it comes to the enrollment numbers but added that, "Our school district is very heavy with refugee families that do not participate in athletics. My numbers aren’t exact, but we have only around 600-700 students that compete in all of our varsity sports," he said.

Nemecek said that it is a one year move and then they will attempt another run at joining the TVL.

"I see the TVL standing their ground again in a year, but we will try again. And if that doesn’t work, then we will take it up with Section III again," he said.