Being a big fish in a small pond must have some appeal.
Edgewood, after probing a move to the Alabama High School Athletic Association through the summer, has decided to remain in the Alabama Independent School Association.
The school’s board of trustees, in a meeting that lasted more than two hours Tuesday night, voted to keep the Wildcats in the less-competitive AISA.
“It’s a very sensitive issue and, when I say sensitive, it involves change, and a lot of people are uncomfortable with change,” principal Clint Welch said. “It was a big decision.”
Welch said the board voted 8-5 to remain in the AISA.
Welch said he recommended that Edgewood seek AHSAA membership. He is not a voting member of the board.
Reporters were not allowed to attend Tuesday’s meeting. When it ended, school officials wouldn’t reveal any decision, saying they needed to inform parents of the school’s students first.
Welch spoke Wednesday morning. He declined to say what specific issues were discussed about the two associations.
“We talked about everything,” Welch said. “We talked about the positives and negatives of the AISA, and we talked about the positives and negatives of the (AHSAA).
“Each board member decided what they felt was best for the school.”
Bobby Carr, Edgewood’s athletic director and its football and baseball coach, spoke at the meeting and left well before a vote. He said he recommended seeking AHSAA membership.
“Obviously, the vote didn’t go the way my coaches, players and I wanted, but I’m not going to walk around with my head down,” Carr said in a text message Wednesday afternoon.
“It just means God has another plan,” Carr said. “I have 15 days to get our kids ready for Escambia (Academy). It’s time to put my focus on them.”
Welch said this was the first time Edgewood, after more than 40 years of AISA membership, had pondered jumping to the AHSAA. The AHSAA sets its alignments every two years. The next reclassification is due in January.
“The beauty of it is we can reconsider again in a few years,” Welch said.
Edgewood football has won a state-record 58 straight games and five straight AISA championships, though the feat has been diminished because of the AISA’s perceived lower status.
Of the 190 native Alabamians on an NCAA Division I-A football roster last fall, according to an Advertiser survey, just 12 hailed from AISA schools.
The AISA’s then-39 football-playing member schools combined for seven Division I signees in February, according to a list compiled by AL.com. Two of those were from Edgewood. A third was from a school that won’t have varsity football this year.
The AHSAA’s member schools had 127 signees from its then-388 schools with varsity teams.
Edgewood baseball has won seven straight AISA titles.
The AISA has 36 schools scheduled to play varsity football this season. It will give out three championships.
“The AISA is a good association,” Welch said. “They’ve been good to us.”