The fate of the Castleton football team’s post-season play after this season lies in the hands of fellow conference teams – and may not have anything to do with records.
After rival team Norwich University drops out of the Eastern Colligate Football Conference at the end of this year, the team’s conference now has only the minimum number of seven teams required to get an automatic qualification to go on to the NCAA championship.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen with our conference,” said Deanna Tyson, associate dean for Athletics and Recreation.
This situation is Tyson’s most pressing issue at the moment. She said she’d hate to see another tem drop out and have the team not qualify for the NCAA bid – should Castleton win the league.
In April of last spring, the impending Norwich departure was brought to the attention of head football coach Tony Volpone. Although it's a concern, he said his main goal is making sure his team is ready to play to their fullest potential.
“As for how much this is affecting us as we take the field at practice tonight and play this weekend, I would say zero,” Volpone said last week alluding to his team’s upcoming game against Anna Maria.
Volpone, in his his second season as head coach, said the potential of not qualifying for the NCAA tourney next season “shouldn’t affect any regular season play, if it does we’re not doing a good enough job as coaches keeping people focused.”
Known for his record-breaking 2014 campaign, Volpone led the Spartans to a 7-3 record after just one prior year with the team. His team finished in second place in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, a best in program history.
While the state of the ECFC remains unknown, Volpone isn’t fazed.
“We do want to keep the game being played, if that means having to play it in not a conference schedule then that’s something we want to do,” Volpone said.