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Radical changes ahead for realignment?

ASHEBORO — Radical realignment changes could be on the horizon for schools in Randolph County after an amendment passed to increase the number of classifications from four to seven in North Carolina.


Schools were notified April 18 that the amendment did receive enough support from the 432 principals to pass, but there are still hurdles that must be cleared, including a bill in the General Assembly that would keep the number of classifications in North Carolina at the current four.


The NCHSAA will release more information about the proposed changes at its annual meeting in early May. 


If the changes do come into fruition, which would come in the fall of 2025, schools in Randolph County would be in four different classifications. Each classification would include 64 teams based on student enrollment. 


Eastern Randolph and Providence Grove would be in the 2-A ranks; Trinity, based on a three-way tie with Whiteville and Madison for the 64th spot in 2-A, would be either 2-A or 3-A. 


Wheatmore and Uwharrie Charter Academy would be 3-A, Southwestern Randolph and Randleman 4-A and Asheboro 5-A.


Schools would then have to be divided into conferences.


“It’s fresh on our plates, but it does seem like we would probably have to travel more,” AHS Athletic Director Wes Berrier said. “We’re just guessing what our conference would be, but it looks like it would be with Guilford County schools like Southeast Guilford, Smith, Eastern Guilford and Northern Guilford. We will have to see how things go.”


UCA could see some big changes. Currently, the Eagles compete in the 1-A classification, but if the bill in the General Assembly is passed, it would limit the NCHSAA to four classifications and require all charter and parochial schools to move up one class regardless of enrollment. That could put the Eagles in the 2-A or 3-A division. 


“Like everything, there are pros and cons,” UCA AD Brad Monroe said. “We are one of the biggest charter schools in the state without football and we hope to get football sooner rather than later, but I don’t know how that will go. 


“If this does take effect, we will have to look at scheduling. If you have to travel an hour or so for conference games, you certainly don’t want to do that for non-league games.”


THS AD Robert Mitchell said he likes the idea of seven classifications, but hasn’t done enough research on all the different parts of the amendment to judge whether it would be beneficial.


RHS AD Jake Smith agreed.


“Really, whatever they want to change, they are going to change and we will go out and practice and play,” he said.


WHS AD Rick Halo said pleasing everyone won’t be easy.


“In theory, they are just trying to make things better,” Halo said. “Putting everyone in the same class so you play the same size. It’s more complicated than people think. Put six schools in a conference and it’s hard to get everyone to agree. Imagine having more than 420 or so.” 


The NCHSAA has not expanded classifications since the 1969-70 school year.