The South Carolina High School League is pondering a fifth classification for football across the state.
Jerome Singleton, executive director of the SCHSL, sent an email to the state’s public high schools, requesting that school representatives review and provide feedback to its executive committee classification representative regarding realignment, which will occur in August.
York Comprehensive High School athletic director Steve Boyd, a member of the high school league’s executive committee, said the committee will meet Jan. 22.
Among the items to be addressed will be determining the number of classifications to be used for the 2014-2016 reclassification/realignment process. That could expand the number of classifications for football from four to five.
Boyd, a ranking member of the league’s executive committee, has his thoughts about a possible fifth classification, reminding athletic directors and high school principals in the Palmetto State that the idea is merely in the discussion stages.
“I would favor five classifications in all sports, not just football,” said Boyd. “I know football is the revenue sport, but all of the sports are equally important.”
Boyd likes the idea of all high school playoff participants having winning records in region play.
“Under the present system, almost 40 percent of the playoff participants had losing records,” said Boyd. “The system has been watered down. With five classifications, all participating teams would have winning records.”
Carroll Hester, the athletic director at Clover High School, said the high school league has asked for input from athletic directors across the state.
“I would be in favor of a 10-team region,” Hester said of changes that are likely to occur. “The 11th game could represent the first week of the playoffs.”
Hester said difficulties scheduling non-region games should be taken into consideration.
“If the high school league approves five-team regions, perhaps the number one team in the region could receive a bye,” he said. “The number two and three teams in the region could compete in the first round of the playoffs.”
There are currently seven state championship games, with two in all but 3A classification. The new concept, if approved, would include an 11-game regular season and would allow more games to be scheduled for financial benefits instead of playoff implications.
There would be one state champion crowned in each division.
The email sent by the high school league to all schools includes a “mock” realignment scenario. The league admits it is a rough draft, nothing is in concrete and that numbers were based on 45-day enrollment figures, not the 135-day numbers used for realignment every two years.
Though Boyd favors the new concept for the most part, he said there are issues that would need to be addressed.
The fifth classification would likely break up the current seven York County team alignment in Region 3-AAAA.
“I wouldn’t like that,” admitted Boyd. “But the pros would outweigh the cons. There is still a lot to talk about before the new concept is approved.”
Singleton made it clear that a possible new concept is still in the discussion stages and that input from schools statewide would impact the league’s ultimate decision.
Boyd said he would have a better idea about the proposed fifth classification realignment after the executive committee convenes Jan. 22.
“We will know more about the new concept after our meeting later this month,” assured the YCHS AD. “I will be able to share additional information with our school officials and other high schools in the area.”
The high school league approves realignment every two years based on 135-day enrollment figures from high schools across the state.