With the South Carolina High School League’s next realignment slated for the 2014-15 school year which begins in August, Clover and York athletic directors are contemplating a scheduling dilemma.
With Lancaster and South Pointe high schools expected to move down to 3A classification, Region 3 4A will include York, Clover, Fort Mill, Nation Ford, Northwestern, Rock Hill and newcomer Gaffney.
While Clover’s Carroll Hester and York’s Steve Boyd speak highly of the schools that make up the region, it’s the seven-team alignment that is reason for concern.
The region now has eight teams. With South Pointe and Lancaster out and Gaffney in, seven is an uneven number, creating havoc for the local ADs.
“A seven-team region is difficult for scheduling football games as well as all of the sports,” said Hester. “In football, it creates an open date late in the season.”
Hester said there are two sides to the issue.
“If a team is playing well, it could break its momentum for the playoffs,” Hester said. “The other side would be that teams with key injuries would have time to heal.”
Boyd, a member of the South Carolina High School League’s executive committee, agreed. “A seven-team region creates scheduling difficulties,” he said. “We’re already coping with it.”
Both Hester and Boyd say a region with six York County teams plus Gaffney will be highly competitive.
“It’ll be a strong region in all sports,” said Hester. “Travel will be confined to within the county, and Gaffney’s not that far away. There will be less travel, and attractive games for the fans.”
Hester said Clover’s Big 16 status could go either way, depending on student body numbers. “We don’t think it matters that much whether or not we are Big 16,” he said.
YCHS is a small 4A school with steady enrollment. The student body count is up this year due to a large freshman class.
Said Boyd: “We feel we’re steady in 4A classification at the present time, but you never know what can happen every two years. There are schools that are losing students. We’re not in that category.”
Boyd said YCHS is OK with 4A classification. “We can handle it,” he said.
Hester said athletic directors need to prepare. “It’s crucial from now until March to make out the schedules and be ready to go when realignment kicks in.”
The high school league approves realignment every two years based on 135-day enrollment figures from high schools across the state.
In addition, fifth classification for football is in the discussion stages for SCHSL representatives.
Said Boys: “I would favor five classifications in all sports, not just football. I know football is the revenue sport but all of the sports are equally important.”
Hester agreed. “I am sure the high school league will tweak the proposed concept based on input from schools across the state.”