The Colonial Conference has voted down a projected alliance with the Cape-Atlantic League for football and altered its format for crossover games.
The Colonial Conference's vote on Wednesday was 7-5 against the alliance with the Cape-Atlantic. A vote of 8-4 in favor was needed to approve an arrangement that would have created crossover games between the leagues in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Colonial Conference president Lou Raba, the athletic director at Gateway, said the league has decided to create a new system for crossover games in 2014, focusing on matching teams of similar competitive strength.
In the new format, the Colonial will rank teams from 1-6 in the Patriot and Liberty Divisions. The rankings will be based on win-loss records in Colonial play over the last three seasons.
After the teams are seeded from 1-6 in each division, the crossover games will be arranged so that the top teams in the Patriot would play the top teams in the Liberty and the teams in the lower rankings of the Patriot would play the teams in the lower rankings of the Liberty.
In that way, the league likely would avoid matchups such as this past season's games between Group 2 power West Deptford and struggling Group 1 programs Gateway and Lindenwold. West Deptford beat Gateway and Lindenwold by a combined score of 137-0 in the first two games of the season.
The new format also could help more competitive teams generate additional power points for the postseason tournaments by playing crossover games against teams with better records.
Raba said that crossover games that form traditional Thanksgiving weekend rivalries such as Haddonfield vs. Haddon Heights and West Deptford vs. Paulsboro would be maintained.
Cape-Atlantic president Mike Gatley, the Mainland athletic director, said he respected the decision by Colonial Conference officials.
"We thought we had something that was mutually beneficial to both leagues, but at this time it wasn't," Gatley said. "This was done very professionally with the best interests of the student athletes in mind."
Gatley said the Colonial's decision means that the Cape-Atlantic is likely to maintain its current format with an American Division and a National Division.
Before it began discussions with the Colonial, the Cape-Atlantic had tentatively approved a format for 2014 and 2015 that would have moved St. Augustine and Vineland up to the American Division and Holy Spirit down to the National.