Athletic directors favor VHSL reclassification

Published 10:32 am Saturday, February 18, 2012

FRANKLIN—Western Tidewater athletic directors agree that a proposed realignment from three to six classifications for Virginia High School League schools would lead to more fair competition.

If approved, the changes would go into effect during the 2013-14. Southside District teams Southampton, Greensville and Brunswick would join Tri-Rivers District teams Franklin, Windsor, Surry, Sussex Central and the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School.

A task force of the VHSL’s Executive Committee has proposed a classification based on enrollment consisting of 1A, which includes the state’s smallest schools up to 6A, which includes the largest.

Windsor High School would be in the 2A Class for all sports.

WHS Athletic Director Chuck Parrish said the move would make sense from a travel standpoint and making competition more fair come playoff time.

“I definitely think it’ll help,” Parrish said.

The state’s 316 schools would be split into six classes with two geographical regions for each class for football. There would be roughly 26 teams in each region, and 16 would qualify for the playoffs for a total of 32 teams, said VSHL Executive Director Ken Tilley.

Each classification would hold a state championship game.

“Equity is the key word,” Tilley said. “Schools could be at a disadvantage at playoff time under the current system.”

WHS, for example, has 500 students. During last year’s playoffs, the Dukes faced a school with 800 students, Parrish said. The proposal would allow teams with similar enrollments to compete.

Franklin High School, which has 311 students, would most likely be in Class 1A. Athletic Director Dave Lease said he favors the proposal.

Southampton High School, which has 848 students, would most likely be in Class 3A.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Athletic Director Littleton Parker. “It puts everyone in the same place as far as enrollment.”

The Tri-Rivers District teams would play during the regular season, but be split for the playoffs.

The VHSL Executive Committee will meet Wednesday, Feb. 22, and a decision could come as early as Sept. 20.