WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–High Schools across the state have yet to take to the football this season, but changes are already on the way for next year.
For the first time in over a decade there will be a different landscape for football in North Carolina. The High School Athletic Association announced today they would be eliminating subdivisions, going from eight classifications down to just four.
The classifications will now be 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A starting in the fall of 2021. In the past 18 years it has been divided into 1A, 1AA, 2A, 2AA, etc. NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker says this will allow them to realign with their bylaws and other state sanctioned sports.
“It puts it back on equal footing with all of our sports, where we offer one state championship,” Tucker says. “Through this realignment process we’ll have the opportunity with all of those factors to move back to the more traditional 25 percent model. We will introduce those factors and then have our four classifications.”
Coaches across the Cape Fear all agree it will now be a taller task when it comes to the postseason, but they say it doesn’t change much other than that on their part.
“If you want to get the win, you got to beat the best teams, you got to prove yourself,” says Whiteville High School Football Coach JP Price. “So, yeah the road is more difficult, but it’s not going to change our preparation headed into next season one bit.”
Athletic Directors see it in a different manner, with many conference across the area being split between two classifications. They say this decision makes having a strong regular season even more important when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs.
“It will impact any conference that’s split,” says Hoggard High School Athletic Director Brad Lewis. “Anyone in the three, four, and five range it’s already been that you have to win. Now, it’s going to be a lot like what we’ve seen with basketball or baseball or the other sports. Football now, you just have to make sure you’re in that top echelon of your conference if you want to play in the playoff.”
THE NCHSAA also announced they would be reducing the number of games played in a season from 11 down to 10, which includes endowment games.