The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control unanimously approved Wednesday to continue the seven-classification system for championship play for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.
      The action came during the Central Board’s winter meeting at the AHSAA Office. Re-classification, conducted every two years, is based on average daily membership numbers provided by the State Board of Education. Member private schools supply the same membership information for their schools or school systems.
      The AHSAA has functioned with a seven-class system since the 2014-15 year. The schools were grouped in six classes from 1984-2014, in four classes from 1964-1983 and two classes from 1947-1964. Prior to 1947, the AHSAA had just one class.
      The seven-class football alignment approved Wednesday places the 32 largest high schools in the Class 7A. The remaining six classes were divided equally with 59 football-playing schools in Classes 6A, 5A, 4A and 3A and 58 in Classes 2A and 1A. Those not participating in football championship play have been placed in the re-classification system based on their reported enrollment numbers.
      “I want to thank the AHSAA staff and Central Board for the enormous effort and time they put in to develop the re-classification plan that was approved,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “The feedback from our member schools has been very positive concerning seven classifications, and we are excited about the future as we move forward.”
      Central Board president Mike Welsh, the principal at Spring Garden High School, said, “The seven-classification system has allowed more schools and student-athletes to participate in championship events.”
     Welsh said he wanted to thank the member schools for their input and patience throughout the re-classification process. “Scheduling the decision on re-classification until January allowed the AHSAA staff valuable time to evaluate our current classification system thoroughly,” he said.
      “On behalf of the Central Board of Control and our member schools, I want to thank Mr. Savarese and his staff for their hard work. I also want to thank our Central Board for their commitment and dedication in providing first-class athletic programs for all our student-athletes as well as making decisions that are best for all of our member schools.”
        The Central Board also approved an endorsement by the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association in support of USA Football’s Heads Up Football safety education program that will be offered to AHSAA member school football coaches. The program is supported by the National Football League. The New Orleans Saints will assist the AHSAA member schools. AHSADCA Director Alvin Briggs made the request.
        “Heads Up Football will enhance the tools we already have in place regarding health and safety and will provide another layer of education and protection for our high school and middle school football coaches,” Briggs said.
        New Central Board member Major Lane (District 2) was sworn in prior to the meeting by AHSAA Associate Director Tony Stallworth.
         The Central Board also approved the formation of an AHSAA Investigative Team that will be called on as needed dealing with school infractions.

        In other Central Board action:
        -- Approved an 8-area playoff rotation for baseball beginning in the 2016-17 school year. It was recommended by the Baseball Coaches Committee.
       -- Approved the 2015 Region and State Volleyball, Cross Country, Section and State Swimming and Alabama-Mississippi Football financial reports.
        -- Reviewed a football playoff comparison (for the first four rounds).
        -- Approved the Super 7 football championships audit.
        -- Approved expenses for upcoming the 2016 State Basketball Tournament.
        -- Approved changing next year’s Bowling format from region to area play.
        --  Heard an AHSAA technology update report.

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