By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 12, 2011 1:48 PM
Stick with the original proposal.
Or revive the old Carolina Conference.
Either way, the two Class 1-A realignment drafts released by the N.C. High School Athletic Association have caused little rumblings during the past 10 days.
"I don't know what's going to happen, I really don't," said Ricky Edwards, athletics director at North Duplin. "I hate to say either way. I know they can't leave any schools out and everybody has to be in a conference. Whatever happens, we'll go with it and keep playing ... do the best we can."
The initial draft, generated by SAS in Cary, kept the core of the current Carolina Conference -- North Duplin, Rosewood, Spring Creek and Princeton -- together for the next realignment, which takes effect in 2013. Neuse Charter was added, while Goldsboro and Ayden-Grifton rose to the 2-A ranks as expected. Neuse Charter does not have football.
SAS was asked to place schools geographically and avoid split-classification conferences.
The Association model made a slight adjustment and put James Kenan, Hobbton and Lakewood into the Carolina Conference, which would revive the old league that existed until the late 1990s. Sampson County administrators requested that their schools remain together in one conference to help alleviate travel costs in the current recession.
If that happens, the Tri-County Conference would undoubtedly disband. Wallace-Rose Hill has been placed into a split 1-A/2-A league along with Pender, Union, Trask, Clinton, East Bladen, Midway and West Bladen.
"I could see the NCHSAA moving James Kenan with Wallace, and in turn, moving Union into our conference," said Robert Britt, athletics director at Rosewood. "That would keep Wallace and Kenan together, and it would also keep all of the 1-A Sampson County schools together. The second draft does relieve some travel issues for other conferences.
"If the second proposal stands, it will be a tough conference."
The Association has asked its member schools to submit counter proposals by early January. School administrators and athletics directors must attend a mandatory meeting Jan. 24, 2012, at 10 a.m. inside the Murphy Center on the East Carolina University campus.
A 23-member realignment committee will review the school's concerns and complete the conference proposals by March 15. Schools will be allowed to file appeals and the committee will issue its final decision, including the realignment, in May.
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