By Phil Stacey
---- — The 11 high school principals of the Northeastern Conference schools voted down a proposal yesterday from the conference’s athletic directors to add Masconomet, as well as four schools from the Greater Boston League, into the NEC.
Six NEC schools — Salem, Danvers, Swampscott, Lynn English, Winthrop and Gloucester — voted against admitting Masconomet, Medford, Malden, Everett and Somerville in, which would have created a 16-team conference. A successful vote required two-thirds of the principals to vote yes (8 out of 11).
This is the third time that a vote in which Masconomet and/or the Greater Boston League’s four remaining teams might join the NEC has been shot down.
“It’s disappointing that this is it; there’ll be no more votes on this,” said Beverly High AD James Coffey, who presented the proposal to the NEC principals at Lynn Classical High School. “I thought it would’ve been great for the league.”
Factors such as travel for some NEC schools to their GBL compatriots, making the playing field in certain sports more level and the natural concerns of conference schools having to face state football powerhouse Everett on a yearly basis were all discussed and ironed out, said Coffey.
Now that this issue seems, for all intents and purposes, to be dead, the rumor mill has been cranking. Masconomet, which has had multiple overtures from the Merrimack Valley Conference to join over the years, may now head in that direction — or there’s a chance the school could apply again to the NEC on their own, without the GBL teams. There’s also talk that Saugus, a long-time Northeastern Conference member in its first season as a Cape Ann League school, would like to eventually rejoin the NEC.
Coffey admitted that there were some athletic directors and principals who were “definitely not on the same page”, which may have influenced the voting.
“Our goal was to bring in five schools who would make our conference as a whole stronger and every game competitive in a good way,” said Coffey. “Putting teams together (in certain sports) that were more competitive, that’s what this should have been about.”