Boston High School: Thomas Schaefer

New England Roundup: Vermont

April, 19, 2012
The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is not involved in a game of musical chairs, although it may seem that way.

VermontAfter being played at Windsor High School in each of the last three years, organizers of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl announced that the all-star football game between Vermont and New Hampshire would return to Dartmouth College this summer. There's a chance that the game may have to find another home for this year's game, however.

The move to Dartmouth, which is where the majority of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowls have been played, seemed uncertain after the NCAA banned non-scholastic high school football events from being held at NCAA Division I institutions last year: Nonscholastic Practice or Competition -- Championship Subdivision Football. In championship subdivision football, an institution [including any institutional department (e.g., athletics, recreational/intramural)] shall not host, sponsor or conduct a nonscholastic football practice or competition (e.g., seven-on-seven events) in which football prospective student-athletes participate on its campus or at an off-campus facility regularly used by the institution for practice and/or competition by any of the institution's sport programs.

David Orr, the director of media relations for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, said the NCAA rule was passed primarily to prevent 7-on-7 tournaments from being held at NCAA Division I locations, which could give some schools a recruiting advantage.

"They didn't realize it was going to affect all-star football games," Orr said. "I'm not sure everyone [at the NCAA] knew what was built into the motion."

Orr said if the NCAA prevents the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl from being played at Dartmouth, the game will not return to Windsor.

"We couldn't go back to Windsor because their football field was flooded[last year] and can't be played on," Orr said.

The NCAA legislation had the organizers of the inaugural New Hampshire East-West All-Star Game thinking about a new location for that event as well, since it's scheduled to be played at the University of New Hampshire on June 23. UNH received word from the NCAA last week that the East-West game could be played at UNH's Cowell Stadium.

Here is the email UNH received from the NCAA:
Thank you for your patience as we reviewed this case. Based on the documents provided, the AMA staff has determined that this event is permissible. The documents demonstrate that your institution intended to host the event in June 2011 and that the details of the event were substantially agreed-upon by both parties before the August 15, 2011 effective date of the new legislation. Therefore the restriction in NCAA Division I Bylaw does not apply to this event. Please remember that Bylaw will apply to all future non-scholastic events in the sport of football.

“That's encouraging,” Orr said. “But we're still waiting for the official word before we make any announcement.”

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