The Reuben Davis Blog: High School Conference Realignment, Take Two
Blog: The Reuben Davis Blog
December 7, 2011
About a month or so ago. I wrote a blog post in regards to high school attendance figures, the state high school football playoffs, and the upcoming 2013-2017 realignment. Recently, the NCHSAA in collaboration with SAS Institute, released a computer generated model of what conferences would look like for the next four-year realignment period, beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.
Conference realignments don't just affect football, but also affect other spots. The NCHSAA has been doing these realignments since 1969 according to the NCHSAA web site. Of course, over a period of four years, lots of things can change in a school's attendance figures such as new schools opening, some schools closing, some schools growing in attendance and others losing students. No matter what, conferences need to be realigned and readjusted because of the various changes every so often, and in North Carolina, it's every four years.
Just like any initial realignment phase, there will be some conferences that look really good on paper, as well as those that look like, well, just look downright ridiculous and don't make sense. The main impetus for this realignment is the NCHSAA trying to avoid "split classification" conferences, conferences of which there are schools in two different classifications. In 1985, Union Pines and North Moore was part of a split classification, Central Tar Heel 1A/2A confernce. 1A members included North Moore, East Montgomery, Chatham Central and South Davidson. 2A schools in the league included Union Pines, Northwood, Jordan-Matthews, Southwestern Randolph and West Montgomery.
I think the NCHSAA wanted to see if conferences can be realigned in such a way that there no split classification conferences. It doesn't mean that they are totally against the idea though, and I think there are cases because of distances and geography where split classification leagues are more financially feasible and schools don't have to spend as much on travel expenses.
From the computer generated models, there may be some changes happening, but, it's very early in the realignment process. The NCHSAA Realignment Committee will soon come up with their model of how the conferences will look like for the next realignment period. Then, in January, schools will attend regional meetings and have a chance to appeal the Realignment Committee's decisions. After the regional meetings, a second draft will be put together and sent out in February based on schools' appeals. After that, schools will make appeals based on the second draft. And finally, sometime in May 2012, the realignment will be finalized and then take affect in August 2013
So, what does this mean for high schools in Moore County? Let's take a look at the various conference proposals:
4A Conference #14 - Pinecrest, Hoke County, Scotland, Richmond Senior, Jack Britt and 71st.
3A Conference #11 - Union Pines, Cardinal Gibbons, Lee County, Northwood, Southern Lee and Western Harnett
1A Conference #6 - North Moore, Chatham Central, East Montgomery, River Mill Charter (non-football), South Davidson and West Montgomery.
In Pinecrest's proposed conference, Lumberton and Purnell Swett are replaced by Jack Britt and 71st. Purnell Swett and Lumberton were placed in a conference with the Wilmington 4A schools (Ashley, Hoggard, Laney and New Hanover). I seriously doubt that the Robeson County 4A high schools want to travel to Wilmington on a regular basis. Look for the present Southeastern 4A conference to stick around through 2017. Jack Britt and 71st will most likely continue on in the present Mid-South 4A conference with all the other Cumberland County 4A schools.
On paper, the proposed conference for Union Pines looks pretty good. But, don't expect it to stick. From the current Cape Fear Valley 3A conference setup, Overhills and Douglas Byrd will be moving up to 4A, and most likely be in a conference with other 4A schools in Cumberland County. Lee County will drop from 4A to 3A. Cardinal Gibbons from Raleigh moves in on this computer generated proposal, but look for the Crusaders to stay in a conference based in the Triangle. And, Northwood, a former foe of UP from the days of the old Central Tar Heel 2A conference moves up to 3A, but look for the Chargers to also go north to a Triangle based 3A conference along with Cardinal Gibbons. Lee County will drop from 4A to be in a conference with their county rival, Southern Lee.
As for present CFV 3A conference members Westover and Gray's Creek, they, along with Terry Sanford, which is dropping to 3A are slated to be in a conference with Topsail, South Brunswick and West Brunswick. Don't expect this conference to stick. It's a good, long haul from Fayetteville to the coast. I am predicting this conference lineup for 2013-2017: Union Pines, Lee County, Southern Lee, Western Harnett, Gray's Creek, Terry Sanford and Westover.
Finally, the conference in the computer generated models that will most likely stick is the proposed conference for North Moore. Gone will be the trips to Stanly County and North Rowan, which the Cavaliers by the way are moving up to 2A. Personally, I think there will be more trips to Stanly County, and the long trip to Spencer will be replaced with an even longer trip to Union Academy in Monroe. Look for this 1A league for 2013-2017: North Moore, Chatham Central, East Montgomery, South Davidson, West Montgomery, Albemarle, Gray Stpne Day (non-football), North Stanly (dropping from 2A), South Stanly and Union Academy.
Also, if you're interested in checking out another model, check out Brian Simmons' web site (simmonsratings.com) and check his model for realignment. Of course, with all realignments, not everyone is going to be be happy with their conference placements. I have a feeling there's going to be lots of appeals, so stay tuned. I'll probably be visiting this subject again, most likely. Conference realignment can change like the weather, and it can change more often than you expect!