AHSAA reclassification to be announced Wednesday

Published 11:44 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Alabama High School Athletic Association will announce its new classifications Wednesday, which will likely affect every school in the state in every sports in some way.

The AHSAA’s Central Board will vote on the new classifications and it will be announced Wednesday to the media. The AHSAA will hold a question and answer session with the media at its office in Montgomery at 10 a.m.

AHSAA assistant director Ron Ingram said there is a lot of planning and discussing that goes into reclassification, which occurs every two years.

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“It’s a long drawn-out process,” Ingram said. “We’ve been working on it ever since the last reclassification.”

In 2014, there were three schools in Dallas County that moved classifications, largely as the result of the creation of class 7A. Selma moved from 5A to 6A, Dallas County moved from class 4A to 5A and Southside moved from 3A to 4A.

This year, there aren’t any local coaches expecting to change classifications. Dallas County High School athletic director Willie Moore said he is looking forward to not having to change classifications this year.

“I think it will benefit us where we are to have that continuity,” Moore said. “Anytime you change areas or classifications, that’s a big adjustment.”

While coaches in Dallas County are looking forward to the continuity of remaining in the same class, many would like to see changes. Southside football head coach Daniel Flowers said his team spent over $4,000 traveling to games this past season.

The Panthers’ football team has been grouped with Clarke County, Satsuma, UMS Wright and W.S. Neal the last two years, so they’ve made many trips to the Mobile area.

Southside struggled with its football attendance this year, at least partially because their region opponents were so far apart. Flowers hopes that the reclassification allows his team’s opponents to be closer to home, and he said less time on the road traveling to games will help Southside in more ways than one.

“It’ll help us financially and it will also help us probably mentally,” Flowers said.

By enrollment, Keith is the school that was the closest to being in another class during the 2014-2016 classification. At that time, Keith had the sixth-most students enrolled in class 1A.

Keith athletic director Tommy Tisdale said even if Keith does make the jump to 2A, it’s not a huge change for his school.

“It’s not really a big deal for us,” Tisdale said. “Either way, we’ll be fine with it. We’ve only been 1A the last four years, the last two classifications. We’ve always been 2A, so it doesn’t really change much geographically.”

If Keith doesn’t move to 2A, the 1A region that Keith and Ellwood Christian share will look different after reclassification. Last year, Akron and Sunshine closed down, making class 1A, region 4 two schools smaller.

Ingram said that region will be one of the many changes the AHSAA makes because the goal is to have at least seven teams in a region. Last season, the region had just five schools.

“There’s a major shake-up,” Ingram said. “Akron and Sunshine were in this classification last year and now they’re closed.”

While the Dallas County area likely won’t see the major changes it saw two years ago in reclassification, coaches are ready for changes in opponents within their region.

“We hope that wherever we land, we land in a good spot where it’s somewhere pretty close that we can generate some support and funds for teams close enough to be able to come and watch their teams play us,” Moore said.

About Justin Fedich

Staff writer for The Selma Times-Journal.

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