The Executive Committee of the South Carolina High School League voted Tuesday to move to a five-classification format beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, according to Wade Hampton athletic director Darryl Nance, a member of the committee.
In addition, the committee voted — by a 15-0 count —— to table amendments that would have bumped the private and charter schools up an additional class until at least the 2018-2019 school year, Nance said.
Nance said he submitted a six-class proposal, but it was voted down 8-7. Then the five-class proposal passed by 10-5.
The committee told the league when dividing the schools into classes, “enrollment should be given primary consideration, followed by geography, followed by rivalries,” Nance said.
“Right now, you have Wando with 3,900 (students) and Greenville High with 1,400 in the same classification,” Nance said. “Wade Hampton has 1,600, Dorman has 3,400, and they’re in the same region.
“A school should not be in a classification playing a school that’s twice its size or bigger. Conceivably Wade Hampton’s going to be the 38th largest school in the state. If we’re the smallest school in the state in AAAAA, that doesn’t help us by going to AAAAA if we’re playing schools two or more times our size.”
Thus, the classes would not be evenly divided, and, Nance said, “All of the playoff brackets will have to be amended because you don’t know how many schools will be in each class.”
As for taking geography into account, Nance said, “You shouldn’t be driving two hours to play a tennis match on a Tuesday.”
Another consideration for which the committee asked the league was even-numbered regions, or at least odd-numbered regions in the same vicinity, in order to keep teams from having open dates.
The amendments that promote private and charter schools up one classification remain as part of the constitution, but they will not be enacted at least through the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years.
Nance said there was a movement to “table those two changes to the constitution until we see how the AAAAA classification system works, and it passed by unanimous approval.”
The AAAAA classification will be used for two years beginning in 2016-2017, after which the format could be kept, returned to four classes or changed again, Nance said.