06/15/11 — League officials adopt divisional format

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League officials adopt divisional format

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 15, 2011 1:47 PM

HIGH POINT -- The addition of two schools prompted Conference Carolinas officials to launch schedule and divisional changes when competition begins this fall.

King (Tenn.) College and North Greenville (S.C.) University joined the highly-regarded Division II league earlier this month. Conference athletics directors, administrators, faculty, officials and coaches discussed issues ranging from conference and regional play, financial expenses, missed class time and student-athlete welfare issues.

Once the concerns were tabled and discussed, the group agreed on changes that will modify conference play this season. The 13-member conference will be split into East and West Divisions, which will create round-robin play with the exception of women's volleyball and men's and women's basketball.

Schools who sponsor those three sports will play teams in their division twice, and teams in the other division once. Regular-season champions will be crowned in each division. Eight teams -- four from each division -- will qualify for the season-ending conference tournament.

"It's going to be different," said Mount Olive College men's basketball coach Joey Higginbotham. "It will cut down on travel in the league, but you'll travel longer out of the league and that's one of the things that I wasn't too happy about.

"It is what it is. We'll go play and see what we can do."

The East is comprised of MOC, Barton, Coker, Pfeiffer, Queens and St. Andrews. Teams making up the West are Belmont Abbey, Converse, Erskine, King, Lees-McRae, Limestone and North Greenville. Converse participates in women's sports only.

Higginbotham said the change created minor scheduling problems. The Trojans, who were 14-13 a year ago, will play in three Classics including their annual Pickle Classic in late November. Unlike last season, Mount Olive will not begin conference play until January. Most league contests are scheduled for Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Division II teams are allowed to play a maximum of 26 regular-season games.

"It's a tough East," said Higginbotham. "King is a quality addition, has a very good program and I don't know much about North Greenville. It's going to be a challenge (with) good regional opponents that are spread out.

"Having some Sundays off will be good for our guys academically."

Baseball, tennis, soccer and softball will continue single round-robin play. Division champions will be crowned in those sports. Cross country, golf, men's volleyball and track and field are not affected by the new divisional structure.