Oxford’s Love Letters: Valley school to romance NVL for invite

Oxford wants a divorce from the South-West Conference.

It’s in love with the Naugatuck Valley League.

According to a report via the Oxford Patch website, the town’s board of education has voted to move its sports affiliation from the SWC, where it has been a member since the school’s inception in 2008, to the only slightly more geographically similar NVL.

Of course, this is just a preliminary move and nothing is definite.

But, according to the Oxford Patch, they all really, really want it because the NVL has eight schools that are close to Oxford’s size (i.e. competitive), it’ll cut down on travel time to member schools, and it’ll create a rivalry with Seymour and other lower valley schools, Ansonia and Derby.

Board member and former football assistant coach Gerard Carbonaro is credited with beginning a discussion which led to Tuesday’s vote.

From the Oxford Patch:

“I’ll be proud of our kids if they compete favorably in that league,” he said. “But I know as adults, I think it’s our job and our responsibility to put these kids in the best position to succeed. The fact that the NVL has eight schools that have populations within 300 students of Oxford – and the SWC only has four – makes a big difference.”

This is anything but a done deal. The 14-team Naugatuck Valley League’s members must invite and accept the Oxford school district to its ranks.

The NVL last expanded in 2008, when it admitted Derby (from the SCC) and St. Paul-Bristol from the now-defunct NWC. Before then, the NVL notoriously spurned advances from Derby for years.

A 15th member would create obvious logistical scheduling problems, particularly in football. If the league is indeed interested in adding Oxford, would probably seek out a 16th school. Of Oxford’s sports programs, the NVL does not sponsor boys volleyball, wrestling or gymnastics.

The SWC realigned its football divisions into large-medium-small this year, mostly to accommodate its smallest members — including Oxford. The football team, which resides in the smallest ‘Patriot Division,’ is in the midst of its finest season as a member of the SWC. The Wolverines are 6-2 heading into Saturday’s game vs. Bunnell.

Bunnell’s Dave Johnson, one of the SWC’s board of directors wouldn’t comment on what a potential Oxford move would mean for his league. He said the league has approved of the 2013 schedules and will be meeting shortly with Woodland athletic director Brian Fell to finalize the details of the SWC-NVL challenge between football leagues in 2013-14.

“Right now it’s business as usual in the SWC,” he said. “The only thing I can say is Oxford is a very valued member of our league.”

Before it became a school in 2007, Oxford athletes typically attended Seymour or Masuk. It is considered a geographical part of the Naugatuck Valley.

Sean Patrick Bowley