MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control unanimously approved Thursday a seven-classification system for championship play for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. The seven-class system, which began in 2014-15, was approved once again for all sports. For the first time, however, for classification, non-traditional students were included in the average daily membership figures reported for member public schools by the Alabama State Department Education and a competitive balance factor was approved for AHSAA member private schools based on the recommendation of the AHSAA Classification Task Force.
The action came during the Central Board’s quarterly meeting at the AHSAA Office.
Non-traditional students, which gained eligibility for the first time in the 2016-17 school year, include home-school and virtual school students that enroll in at member public school.
In accordance with the AHSAA constitution and by-laws, the AHSAA Central Board of Control manages championship play and classification. Member schools are reclassified every two years. The high schools are currently divided into seven classifications (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A and 7A) for competition in championship programs.
Classification is based on Average Daily Membership (ADM) figures furnished by the State Department of Education for public schools for the upper three grades plus ninth-grade students that are retained in the ninth grade. Member private schools report that same data directly to the AHSAA. An index of 1.35 is used to determine the enrollment figure for classifying each private school member. Each private school student counts 1.35 for classification purposes.
Alignments are made for each sport in a classification based on the number of schools participating in a sport. Some programs may include two or more classes in a division. The alignments for each sport in a class are published in the AHSAA Sports Book each year.
The AHSAA Classification Task Force, made up of superintendents, principals, athletic directors, administrators and coaches from across the state and chaired by Madison County Schools Superintendent Mark Massey and Montgomery Academy Athletic Director Anthony McCall, addressed many issues concerning the membership including competitive balance between schools in the respective classes. The committee unanimously recommended adding a competitive balance factor to private schools by sport. While private schools are classified based on the membership data and 1.35 multiplier, those affected by the competitive balance factor will move up one class or division from where they are this school year for the respective sport but will remain in their respective classification for all other sports.
Reclassification, according to the AHSAA Constitution and By-Laws, is conducted every two years by the AHSAA Central Board of Control.
“This reclassification system will allow more student-athletes to participate in championship events,” Central Board President John Hardin said.
The 2018-19 and 2019-20 football alignment places the 32 largest high schools in the new Class 7A and 55 in Class 6A. The remaining six classes were divided equally with 60 schools in each remaining class.
“I want to thank the Classification Task Force, Central Board and AHSAA staff for the hard work they put in and the recommendations they made,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “It was a difficult job, but everyone worked together to find the best solution as we move forward.”
Hardin said he also wanted to thank the Classification Task Force and member schools for their input and patience throughout the reclassification process. “Their recommendations came after many hours of study and discussion. They gave of their valuable time to evaluate our classification system thoroughly and provided valuable input in ways to improve that system,” 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 to providing a first-class athletic program to all our student-athletes, and for making decisions that are best for all of our member schools.”
The reclassification alignment data for each sport and the private school competitive balance chart can be found at the following link located at www.ahsaa.com. Reclassification by enrollment data is located on the home page of www.ahsaa.com.
In other Central Board action: