The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is not involved in a game of musical chairs, although it may seem that way.
After 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:
188.8.131.52 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 184.108.40.206 does not apply to this event. Please remember that Bylaw 220.127.116.11 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.”
EXTRA EFFORT REQUIRED
Very little separated the Middlebury and South Burlington girls lacrosse teams last season, when the Rebels defeated the Tigers 12-10 in the Division I championship game. The teams appear to be evenly matched this year as well.
It took overtime to determine a winner when the teams met Tuesday. Brandi Whittemore's third goal came with nine seconds left in OT and handed Middlebury an 14-13 triumph.
Chrissy Ritter, who assisted on the game-winning goal, led all scorers with six goals. Middlebury's Emily Robinson added four goals and an assist.
Middlebury, which overcame a three-goal deficit late in the second half, received 17 saves from Maria Ploof.
Anne-Marie Farmer (five goals) and Morgan Bresnahan (three) led the South Burlington offense.
OUT OF PLAY
Hazen Union is not fielding a varsity baseball or a varsity softball team this spring because of low participation numbers in each program. Nine players showed up for baseball tryouts and five for softball tryouts this year.
The Hazen baseball team hasn't finished at .500 or better since 2007, when it reached the Division III championship game. Northfield beat Hazen to win the title that year. The Hazen softball team hasn't posted a winning season since 2008, when it went 13-5 and reached the Division III semifinals.
Neither baseball nor softball are offered at Hazen Middle School.
Golf and track and field are the only varsity sports Hazen is offering this spring. School officials said they hope both baseball and softball returns next season.
SOCCER COACH RESIGNS
South Burlington girls' soccer coach Thomas Schaefer submitted his resignation earlier this month. According to the Burlington Free Press, Schaefer resigned after his fourth arrest for driving under the influence.
Schaefer coached the South Burlington girls team for the last two seasons, after nine seasons as the South Burlington boys soccer coach. He led the South Burlington girls to the Division I championship in 2010. The Rebels lost to Champlain Valley in last year's Division I championship game.
KNOFF RECORDS NO-HITTER
Kaitlyn Knoff's no-hitter was among the highlights during the first week of the spring sports season.
Knoff struck out six as Enosburg picked up its first victory by beating Winooski 18-0. It was the first varsity game for the Winooski program, which has competed at the JV level the last two seasons.
Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been reporting on New England high school sports since 1992.