WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
For some players, coaches and athletic directors in the Historic Triangle, getting used to the Virginia High School League’s new realignment was headache inducing.
Those same people may want to invest in a bottle of Advil.
On Tuesday, the VHSL announced its realignment plan for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, and local schools are again affected with both Grafton and Tabb likely moving into different classifications.
The initial realignment that changed it from three classifications – A, AA and AAA – to six groups – 1A to 6A – began in the fall of 2013 and broke up each group into two regions with four conferences per region.
This change essentially eliminated the importance of district championships and replaced them with conference championships instead.
The VHSL also set up a process to re-evaluate the alignment every two years in order to make sure schools are accurately assigned to a classification based on their projected student populations. Starting this school year, Lafayette moved from 3A to 4A and Tabb moved from 4A to 3A, and several local schools are playing in new conferences within those classifications.
Now the VHSL has announced a proposal that does not just move teams around – with Grafton likely moving from 4A to 3A, and Tabb moving back to its original 4A classification – but removes the conference breakdown altogether and increases the number of regions. Each of the six groups would have four regions, some composed of as many as 17 schools.
Proposed changes by the VHSL are not set in stone, however. Schools may appeal their classification placement Jan. 13 at the VHSL office in Charlottesville.
Grafton Athletic Director Laura Sutton said the changes, if enacted as proposed, will not be too drastic for Grafton, as the Clippers are being aligned with most of the schools currently in their conference.
The biggest potential issue, she said, comes in how to seed teams in the postseason when regions could feature teams from different districts with different strengths of schedule.
“Region seeding is going to be an issue, because you have to figure out how to seed teams from as many as four districts,” she said. “Figuring out how to do that will be the sticking point.”
Conversely, Sutton said a potential positive from the proposed realignment could be the re-emergence of district play. With no more conference tournaments, she said, district play could become more important again.
Tabb Athletic Director Susan Wiker could not be reached for comment.