Bridgeport to NVL? City public schools in preliminary talks to join Valley league

High school conference realignment has suddenly kicked into high gear.

Central, Bassick and Harding are in preliminary talks to jump from the FCIAC to the NVL, officials on both sides of the aisle confirmed to Hearst Connecticut Newspapers today.

The three city public schools, who have been members of the FCIAC since 1993, met with officials from the NVL last week. Talks are still in the very early stages and no formal invitation has been offered.

“There’s been no application, we had a conversation with them,” said NVL president Tom Pompei, who is the athletic director at Naugatuck High School. “They just wanted to have an initial conversation about the league. It was brief and didn’t go very far.”

This is the second time in as many weeks that the NVL has been a player in potntial realignment. Last week, Oxford’s Board of Education voted to ask for admittance into the league and sources have Hearst CT the NVL is interested in adding the school.

Central and Harding were actually charter members of the NVL in 1931, according to Joe Palladino of the Republican-American.

New citywide athletic director Neil Karvey told our own Dave Ruden it was still very early in the process. He added that improving his school’s competitiveness in sports is the driving force behind the move.

“If they think we’re a good fit there, we would be interested in making a proposal. We’re still gauging local interest here.”

Count Bassick football coach Derrick Lewis as a huge proponent of the move.

“At my school, only sport that wins is boys basketball. everything else loses. We are in a perennial losing situation against teams that have more money and better resources,” he said. “We don’t have what the rest of the county has and we’re getting our teeth kicked in. You want to see us compete, not just in football, but possibly compete better in the other sports, the girls sports. I think it’ll bring morale of schools up and keeps kids on teams and off the streets.

“I’m hoping, for the betterment of our city, if the kids our city more interested in athletics I think we should do it. I’m going to support this move.”

Read the whole story from Dave Ruden here.

From my perspective, though initially shocked at the idea. But on a quick second glance this move would be great for Bridgeport and good for the NVL. From a demographic perspective, as Lewis eluded to, the city schools have much more in common in terms of money and resources with Waterbury and the other NVL schools than it does with the Gold Coast towns of New Canaan, Greenwich, Fairfield and Westport.

A Bridgeport-NVL merger would create a mega boys basketball conference. And other sports, including football, would be more competitive against the three Waterbury schools public schools and several other NVL communities.

Finally, it would solve the 7-year unbalanced scheduling problems in FCIAC football. The league would contract to 16 teams, eliminating its rotating bye week and allowing it to revert back to two divisions to compete for an FCIAC title.

Sean Patrick Bowley