Coaches anxious for vote

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Andalusia and Straughn coaches said they could end up being in the same classification once again. | File photo

Andalusia and Straughn coaches said they could end up being in the same classification once again. | File photo

High school football coaches waiting to complete their schedules for the coming fall season won’t have to wait much longer as the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Central Board of Control will meet Wednesday to decide the new reclassification realignment for the next two years.

The reclassification realignment process is implemented every two years because of enrollment numbers changing, school closings and schools adding sports to their programs, to name a few reasons. School enrollment is based on the top three grades — 10-12 — of each high school.

Rumors have run rampant that the current six-classification system will be increased to seven at the meeting.

In fact, when the board makes its decision, coaches will be able to have a good idea of where their team lines up, classification and area/region wise.

This is the longest coaches have gone without fully making their football schedules for the coming season, Andalusia football coach Brian Seymore said.

Luckily, the Alabama High School Coaches Association will also be meeting on Thursday.

“This meeting will probably be used as a scheduling session,” Seymore quipped.

Seymore said he’s talked to several coaches, and that there is a lot of speculation about the realignment and the addition of another classification, or what they’re calling a “Super Class.”

The new realignment would affect bigger schools, primarily, Seymore said.

“It could be really good,” he said.

Straughn football coach Trent Taylor said he thinks the board will have a couple of proposals to consider at the meeting.

“One of them is to keep things like they are with six classifications,” Taylor said. “The rumor out there is, and it’s certainly true, is that they might go to seven classifications.”

Taylor said the current six-classification system has been in place since 1984.

“This is 30 years that we’ve been under that,” the Straughn coach said. “Obviously, there are a great deal more high schools involved in athletics since 30 years ago.”

For Andalusia, whose enrollment is at 369, the new realignment could swing the Bulldogs toward either the Montgomery or Mobile regions, Seymore said.

“It’s a toss up for us,” he said. “We could be in the same region with Straughn.”

Seymore said AHS is right there with Bibb County and Thomasville as far as enrollment numbers are concerned. BCHS and THS have an enrollment of 370.

Straughn’s current enrollment number is around 330, Taylor said.

“We feel ike we’re going to be a 4A school now,” Taylor said. “But the big dilemma now is what region you’re going to be in. That’s what affects the schedule. You can’t schedule a non-region game against an opponent who you’ll see in the region.”

Both Seymore and Taylor said that there is a big “discrepancy” between enrollment numbers in the larger and smaller 6A schools. In the new classification system, if installed, there will be 32 schools in Class 7A.

“There’s a lot of parity between the top and bottom of 6A from the top of 5A to the bottom of 1A,” Seymore said. “It’s that big of a difference.”

Taylor said he believes it’s “time for a change.”

“It doesn’t affect Opp, Andalusia or Straughn in any way,” the Tigers coach said. “It might mean that it changes where you are in class. If there is a big discrepancy between the top and bottom of the classficiation, then change is a good thing. You want the numbers to be as close as they possibly can between the largest and smallest schools.”

Opp defensive coordinator Michael Cassady said from his conversations with other people, the Bobcats could either be a big Class 3A school, or a smaller 4A school, if the board expands the classifications.

“We’re right there in the mid-to-upper 3A in numbers,” Cassady said. “We’re right on the borderline to being one of the biggest 3As or one of the smallest 4As.”

Red Level football coach David Godwin said he doesn’t think his team will move out of Class 1A, but instead will either transition to Region 1, or stay in Region 2, where it played with Pleasant Home and Florala, also.

“It will probably move Geneva County out of our region,” Godwin said. “It could bring J.F. Shields (who is organizing a football team for next year) into our region, or we will go to Region 1.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “We’re kind of teetering on it right there.”

PHS football coach Cody McCain said that the process not only affects football, but other sports like basketball and baseball as well.

“We as coaches have been talking about it a lot at different games,” McCain said. “It’s a wait and see approach.”

McCain, like other coaches, said this has been the longest year for the new realignment reclassifications were released.

“In past years, it’s usually before Thanksgiving and around Super 6 time when we start to fill out our non-region games,” he said.

Additionally, McCain said that he believes GCHS will move up to Class 2A.

FHS coach Bubba Nall said he’s hoping it affect the Wildcats in a “positive” way.

“We’re hoping that the larger 1A schools, if they move up, they’ll move some different schools in,” Nall said. “Then, some of the schools in our region could move up, and if that happens, they’ll move diff schools in, which can create new rivals — some newness.”