If recommendations by a VHSL task force become reality, playoff competition in each sport would be divided into six classifications based entirely on enrollment — and without regard to regional proximity — starting the 2013-14 school year.
The seven-member committee met last month in Charlottesville and released the minutes Tuesday. Under its plan, the 48 schools with the lowest enrollments would be in the smallest classification. The remaining 267 members would be divided into five groups by enrollment figures collected in March.
"This latest decision to establish six classifications promises to be the most significant step the league has taken in more than 40 years," VHSL executive director Ken Tilley said in a statement. "Under the new format, there is potential for greater consistency in playoff opportunities for sports and activities.
"Obviously, there will be other issues to study. We have an excellent opportunity to deal with these matters during our Strategic Planning initiative, which begins next week with a series of meetings statewide that include representatives from each current district. Discussions will also be ongoing at region meetings this winter and spring and at the VHSL's March meetings."
According to Mike McCall, information and communications specialist with the VHSL, membership will discuss the proposal and instruct their representative on the Executive Committee how to vote.
The VHSL sent out a survey to its 314 members in November. Asked if they would prefer to remain in their current classification, 262 of 275 respondents (or 95 percent) said yes.
Under the proposal, the Peninsula District's 10 schools would be split into three classifications for the postseason. Phoebus, the four-time defending football champion in Group AAA Division 5, would be reclassified as a 4A school.
In current terms, that would be the equivalent Group AA Division 4. Joining the Phantoms would be Grafton, Warhill, Tabb and Jamestown.
The task force also recommended that schools be aligned into conferences, or districts, that "are not inherently tied to classification."
If this sounds familiar, it's because the VHSL tried something similar in October 2008. At a power point presentation, the VHSL proposed restructuring membership into five classifications based on enrollment. The plan was not approved.
How local schools would be aligned under the new proposal. This unofficial breakdown is based on enrollments from September 2011. If the proposal is adopted, enrollment figures from March 2012 would be used. (Compiled by Lynn Burke).
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