07/06/17 — Senate bill grabs attention of NCISAA officials

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Senate bill grabs attention of NCISAA officials

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 6, 2017 5:52 AM


North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association officials are waiting on a senate bill that could possibly change the sports landscape beginning this fall.

The General Assembly of North Carolina introduced Senate Bill 159 during its 2017 session. The bill states that if the student-athlete's base institution -- either an independent or home school -- does not have an interscholastic athletic program in a particular sport, they may participate at a public high school within that student-athlete's district.

The final decision lies with the particular school involved in the student-athlete's decision. Participation fees could be established by the local board of education in accordance with state law.

Homar Ramirez, executive director of the NCISAA, brought it to the Board of Managers attention during their recent summer meeting.

"Homar just wanted us to be aware of what could happen," said Michael Taylor, WCDS athletics director and board member. "Some independent schools are going to like this if it goes through. I've got mixed emotions about it.

"One side of me, I like it. But one side of me, I'd really like for my students to stay here on campus and play a sport for us because you are one of our students. We'll let this go through the Senate and see what happens."

Independent schools do not permit home school students play in their Association. A student must be enrolled for at least 60 percent of the school day to be allowed to play a sport.


WCDS moves to the 2-A ranks in 2018-19, part of a new two-year realignment that has added a 4-A classification.

Taylor expected the Coastal Plains Independent Conference, which had existed for four-plus decades, to dissolve after the 2017-18 season.

Not now.

The Chargers and rival Wayne Christian comprise the 2-A portion of the split-classification league that includes 1-A members Greenfield, Christ Covenant and Pope John Paul.

Community Christian applied for membership and was accepted into the Coastal Independent Conference this fall.

Taylor adjusted his athletic schedules this calendar year to give WCDS an opportunity to play 2-A and 3-A schools. He hopes those contests test the Chargers' competitive mentality.

"We just thought it would be a good idea to take it up a level against some 2-A and 3-A schools to great ready for the next couple of years," Taylor said. "We wanted to get our student-athletes prepared for new opponents...wanted to gradually jump into it as far as traveling goes (and) who our coaches are preparing against."


Two years ago, the Association adopted a 16-team playoff configuration for volleyball, soccer (girls/boys), basketball (girls/boys) and baseball.

Once the new realignment and fourth classification goes into effect in 2018-19, a total of 20 teams in those sports are eligible for the postseason. The top eight schools will be seeded and the remaining 12 teams will be placed in the bracket based on geography.

The Association researched playoff formats utilized by Virginia, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

"They all loved it," said Taylor, who added that the NCISAA mandated that its member institutions must use -- and consistently update -- Maxpreps for all sports to assist in playoff seeding.

"Our executive director has really done a good job pushing to give everybody a chance to get into the playoffs."

Minor sports will be broken up into "divisions" for state tournaments. This is the last year that girls are allowed to play on boys' golf team.

Taylor said Friendship Christian, a N.C. Christian Schools Association member, will compete as an independent this season and is not eligible for the playoffs. North Raleigh Christian and Covenant are now full-fledged members and can advance to the postseason.

There are currently 90 NCISAA member schools.