11/08/10 — NCHSAA should re-examine state's clasification system

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NCHSAA should re-examine state's clasification system

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 8, 2010 1:52 PM

The latest average daily membership (ADM) numbers released by the N.C. High School Athletic Association show a huge disparity statewide.

Especially here in Wayne County.

Goldsboro, which has 874 students, is larger than 50 schools currently aligned in 2-A conferences. The school enrollment is projected to increase by another 100 students when the next class is admitted into the Wayne School of Engineering in the fall of 2011.

If that holds true, then Cougar athletic teams will continue to play in the Carolina 1-A Conference with 3-A numbers. Numerous coaches, who have offered opinions in anonymous fashion about the situation, just don't think that's fair.

Who can blame them? I certainly can't.

The yearly population figures in North Carolina continue to grow and the school systems certainly feel the affects each year. New schools are built on a semi-annual basis, particularly in metropolitan areas that offer better living opportunities for families.

Some folks who live in rural areas have moved to where the grass is greener. Small towns are getting zoned into the bigger cities. The days of the "community" school, unarguably the grass roots of high school sports in North Carolina, are falling by the wayside.

Something's got to change.

The NCHSAA needs to throw out the old system and reclassify the state. The 25-percent rule just isn't cutting it any more.

Here's one possible solution:

Take the 50 largest schools and classify them 6-A. Take the 50 smallest schools and classify them 1-A. Take the remaining number of schools, divide by four and place them into 2-A, 3-A, 4-A and 5-A classifications based on enrollment numbers.

It's a simple formula, is it not?

Combination conferences, which exist now in the northeastern, southeastern and western parts of the state, will factor into the realignment process. Allow teams to play to up, but don't permit them to play down. The competition level will be tough during regular-season play, but the real difference will come in the postseason.

The new system, in theory, should put every school on an even keel, especially in the postseason. That's what every athletics director, football coach and administration -- especially at the smaller schools -- express concern about each time a new realignment is proposed.

Yes, the idea has its flaws. There are the issues of time missed from class and travel. But you'd have one football state champion in six classes, instead of the current eight spread out among four classifications. The only other sport that has more than one team champion is wrestling because of its dual-team and individual formats.

Think about it.