It wasn’t too long ago that visiting the web sites of a dozen different high schools to find athletic schedules would mean reviewing the information in a dozen different formats.

In addition, some schools presented schedules that were well out of date, while others had nothing about their athletic programs at all. It was a hodgepodge of unreliable information.

All of that seems to be changing as a number of schools in southern Maine now use an internet program called LeagueMinder, which attempts to help athletic directors and their staffs with scheduling and other tasks.

Schedules are then displayed at www.viewmyschedule.com, a public web site that allows athletes, parents, fans and the media to check who plays when and where, as well as receive emails announcing any changes.

Gorham High School was the first in the area to use the program. Athletic secretary Nancy Robitaille said that as soon as she saw a demo of LeagueMinder, she told her athletic director, Gerry Durgin, that the school needed to get the program.

“There are so many things the system does: schedules, assigning officials, printing certificates,” Robitaille says. “If I make a change in a game with Marshwood, Marshwood gets an email. It links all the schools together. We used to call other schools all the time, and now we can look at their schedules online.”

Robitaille did a presentation on LeagueMinder at a meeting of athletic directors from the Southern Maine Activities Association, and the 17 SMAA schools agreed that they would all use the program to facilitate scheduling and communication among their programs, as well as with the public.

“Last week I did the whole spring schedule for the league,” says Robitaille, “and just pressed a button and boom – every school had their schedules posted.”

According to information provided by the company, 11 SMAA schools have active accounts. Across the country, more than 1,000 high schools and middle schools are using the program.

“It is a communication tool,” says Mike Hewes, a manager at LeagueMinder. “We sell it as a tool for the athletic directors. They’re able to build a season schedule in minutes.”

The company, which has just 11 employees and is located outside of Philadelphia, was started by two former ADs who had some insight into ways to make the job a little easier. The basic price is just under $200 a year for a school to sign onto the service.

With some add-ons – for example, having changes of days, times or venues sent via email to those who sign up – the cost can be another hundred dollars, but Robitaille insists that, at less than a dollar a day, LeagueMinder is worth it.

“It makes a lot of difference,” she says. “I went to the secretaries meeting – because they’re the ones who are going to use it – and we all agreed to use it. I showed them how easy it is, and we’re all connected. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback.”

“It’s phenomenal,” says Judie Reed, the athletic secretary at Westbrook High School. “I think the best part is when parents sign on to receive emails of schedule changes.”

To sign onto that email list, interested parties can follow the link from a school’s web site.

Hewes says that the company is looking to move into the realm of rec leagues with a new product that will be rolled out soon.

Robitaille, who also manages the schedules for Gorham’s middle school with the program, said that the company has been responsive.

“They were great,” she says. “When we started using it I’d call them with suggestions and they’d make changes to the program.”

Hewes says that the image of old-school athletic directors, with the pencil tucked behind an ear and a notebook in his pocket, is just a stereotype.

“(LeagueMinder) is a great product,” he says, “and ADs see the value of it.”