By Gary Lloyd
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control unanimously approved Wednesday a new seven-classification system for championship play beginning with the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.
The seven-class system is being adopted for all sports.
Reclassification, conducted every two years, is based on average daily enrollment numbers provided by the State Board of Education. Member private schools supply the same enrollment information for their schools or school systems.
The AHSAA has functioned with a six-classification system since 1984. The schools were grouped in a four-classification system from 1964-1983 and a two-classification system from 1947-1964. Prior to 1947, the AHSAA had just one classification system.
“The seven-classification system will allow more student-athletes to participate in championship events and more will experience first-hand what it means to play in some of the best venues in our state,” Central Board President Lamar Brooks said. “With the addition of an extra championship game, revenues should increase which will mean much-needed additional money for all schools through the AHSAA revenue sharing program.”
The new seven-classification football alignment places the 32 largest high schools in the new Class 7A. The remaining six classes were divided as equally as possible with 60 schools in 6A, 61 in 5A, 60 in 4A, 60 in 3A, 58 in 2A and 58 making up Class 1A. A total of 23 schools currently do not participate in football championship play and will placed in the re-classification system based on their reported enrollment numbers.
Hewitt-Trussville is now a Class 7A, Region 3 football school with Hoover, Mountain Brook, Oak Mountain, Spain Park, Thompson, Tuscaloosa County and Vestavia Hills.
Clay-Chalkville and Pinson Valley are Class 6A, Region 6 football schools with Center Point, Gardendale, Huffman, Shades Valley and Woodlawn.
“I want to thank the AHSAA staff and Central Board for the hard work they put in to develop the re-classification plan that was approved,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “It was a difficult job, but everyone worked together to find the best solution as we move forward.”
Savarese said the seven-class system allows the AHSAA to group schools more closely in enrollment, also reduces the need for nine-team regions in football and has created fewer five-team areas in sports like basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball.
The Central Board also voted to allow football teams 11 weeks to schedule 10 games. Schools may elect to play a non-region contest the week of Aug. 21-22-23 and then have 10 weeks to play the remaining nine regular-season games. Schools can still agree to play a non-counting jamboree or regulation game that first week but would then have the remaining 10 weeks to schedule the maximum 10 regular-season contests. This format will give schools more flexibility to schedule non-region games.
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