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VHSL releases new plan for scholastic competition

Will the classic rivalries of Virginia’s high schools, such as Pulaski against Salem or Blacksburg, soon be a thing of the past? The answer is uncertainty given the Virginia High School League’s plans to reorganize and realign which high school teams play the other.
The VHSL recently unveiled details concerning the proposed realignment of their member schools into five state championship divisions, effective for the 2011-2012 scholastic season. If said proposal is passed, it will signify the end of districts, such as the River Ridge, Blue Ridge and Western Valley — and also the entire A, AA and AAA classification system, a system that has been in place since the 1970-71 scholastic season.
This realignment proposal, according to an Oct. 28 VHSL press release, is currently based on enrollment figures from Sept. 30, 2007 and will divide the VHSL’s 312 members schools into five state championship divisions. This five division format would be used in all sports in which the vast majority of schools all participate.

Division Enrollment (Number of Students) Number of Schools in VA
1 1-450 48
2 451-800 63
3 801-1300 68
4 1301-1800 66
5 1800 and up 67

Within these five divisions, there will be more subsets and classifications. Within each division, there will be western and eastern “super sections,” essentially dividing the state through the middle to attempt to solve long bus rides for teams and preserve critical class time for students.
Within these super sections further divisions will occur, dividing the super sections into smaller “sections” that will be assigned letters A through D. For example, Radford High School, falling under Division 2 with between 451-800 students, will be in Division 2, Western super section, section A, along with other schools such as Fort Chiswell, Grundy, Martinsville, Giles, Graham and Richlands. The breakdown of teams in the area, their potential divisions, super sections, and sections are as follows:

VHSL Division 4 (1301 — 1800 students)
Western Super Section, Section A
Albemarle
Amherst
Brooke Point
E.C. Glass
G.W. Danville
Harrisonburg
James Wood
Louisa
North Stafford
Patrick Henry (Roanoke)
Pulaski Co.
Sherando
Spotswood
Stafford
William Fleming

VHSL Division 3 (801-1300 students)
Western Super Section, Section A
Abingdon
Bassett
Blacksburg
Carroll County
Cave Spring
Christiansburg
Hidden Valley
Lee High
Lord Botetourt
Magna Vista
Marion
Northside
Patrick Co.
Salem
Staunton River
Tunstall
William Byrd

VHSL Division 2 (451-800 students),
Western Super Section, Section A
Fort Chiswell
Gate City
Giles
Graham
Grayson Co.
Grundy
J.J. Kelly
John Battle
Lebanon
Martinsville
Patrick Henry (GS)
Powell Valley
Radford
Richlands
Tazewell
Virginia High

VHSL Division 1 (1-450 students)
Western Super Section, Section B
Bland/Rocky Gap
Chilhowie
Council
Galax
George Wythe
Holston
Hurley
Mount Rogers
Narrows
Northwood
Rural Retreat
Twin Valley

VHSL Division 1,
Western Super Section, Section C
Altavista
Auburn
Bath
Covington
Craig
Eastern Montgomery
Galileo Magnet
Highland
Parry McCluer
Rappahannock Co.
William Campbell

The big question marks hanging over all of this are the prospects of potential district or, “section” play and how that relates to getting into the post season. The press release from the VHSL is decidedly vague on these questions.
The press release, credited to the VHSL staff states that: “schools would have the flexibility to maintain current district membership / alignment, reorganize districts, or be independent of a district. Post-season participation would be determined by League criteria or by criteria developed by the member schools in each section.”
This statement opens up another problem for many athletic directors, for example, trying to make a full ten game football schedule when required district play could no longer be necessary would prove quite the challenge.
“ Section” and “Super Section” play could still remain a factor, however, as stated in the VHSL’s potential guidelines for post-season play. They state that advancement and seeding within each section would be determined by: 1. Overall regular season record 2. Winning percentage within each Division 3. Winning percentage within each section and super section.
It is to be noted that it will take some time before this measure is brought to a vote by the VHSL executive committee — composed of 29 high school administrators from around the state. Even then, alterations would have to be made for the VHSL handbook, and doing so, would require a two-thirds vote in favor of this new realignment among all high schools in Virginia.
In essence, without two-thirds of all the high schools in Virginia agreeing to this realignment, schools could override the executive committees’ votes.
The VHSL executive committee will be meeting this coming December and there will certainly be a lot of discussion. “We’ll have a chance to talk at the meeting,” VHSL Executive Director Ken Tilley said. “I’ve had people say, ‘Please don’t rush this. Please don’t vote on this at the December meeting.”’ Tilley later added the proposal would possibly not come up for a vote for another 12 months.
What does this mean for Pulaski County High School?
If this realignment is approved, and section and super section play become a factor in receiving play off berths, Pulaski County could see itself being reunited with old Roanoke Valley District opponents G.W. Danville, E.C. Glass, Patrick Henry and William Fleming, while taking long bus rides to battle teams as far away as Winchester.
There still is, however, as shown by the VHSL’s enthusiasm for teams to make their own schedules, potential for old rivalry games such as Pulaski County versus Salem. The VHSL press release also states that any member school would be able to schedule any school they desired based upon gate receipts, long standing rivalries, geographic considerations, travel limitations, local school preference, and district alignment.
It is also important to note that, when new school enrollment figures are factored before 2011-12 season, that Salem could very well be in Division 4 play with Pulaski County. As of the Sept. 2007 figures that determined these sections and super sections, Salem was only 11 students away from becoming Division 4 themselves.
When this labyrinthine process is finally finished, it is unlikely that many schools at this end of the state will be happy. In making drive times for teams shorter, the VHSL has succeeded in the eastern half of the state (the longest drive in any of the eastern super sections is a 213 mile trip from Bluestone High, to Nadua on the Chesapeake peninsula) , while thoroughly stretching the Western districts to their limit (A G.W. Danville trip to James Wood High would almost effectively cover Virginia’s borders with North Carolina and Maryland).
More information will be released, however, and the VHSL will be hosting question and answer sessions at various high schools across the state. The closest meeting of note will be held Nov. 18 at Salem High School. These meetings, due to the potential high number of attendees, require pre-registration with the VHSL. For registration, contact Linda Taylor at ltaylor@vhsl.org

VHSL releases new plan for scholastic competition

Will the classic rivalries of Virginia’s high schools, such as Pulaski against Salem or Blacksburg, soon be a thing of the past? The answer is uncertainty given the Virginia High School League’s plans to reorganize and realign which high school teams play the other.
The VHSL recently unveiled details concerning the proposed realignment of their member schools into five state championship divisions, effective for the 2011-2012 scholastic season. If said proposal is passed, it will signify the end of districts, such as the River Ridge, Blue Ridge and Western Valley — and also the entire A, AA and AAA classification system, a system that has been in place since the 1970-71 scholastic season.
This realignment proposal, according to an Oct. 28 VHSL press release, is currently based on enrollment figures from Sept. 30, 2007 and will divide the VHSL’s 312 members schools into five state championship divisions. This five division format would be used in all sports in which the vast majority of schools all participate.

Division Enrollment (Number of Students) Number of Schools in VA
1 1-450 48
2 451-800 63
3 801-1300 68
4 1301-1800 66
5 1800 and up 67

Within these five divisions, there will be more subsets and classifications. Within each division, there will be western and eastern “super sections,” essentially dividing the state through the middle to attempt to solve long bus rides for teams and preserve critical class time for students.
Within these super sections further divisions will occur, dividing the super sections into smaller “sections” that will be assigned letters A through D. For example, Radford High School, falling under Division 2 with between 451-800 students, will be in Division 2, Western super section, section A, along with other schools such as Fort Chiswell, Grundy, Martinsville, Giles, Graham and Richlands. The breakdown of teams in the area, their potential divisions, super sections, and sections are as follows:

VHSL Division 4 (1301 — 1800 students)
Western Super Section, Section A
Albemarle
Amherst
Brooke Point
E.C. Glass
G.W. Danville
Harrisonburg
James Wood
Louisa
North Stafford
Patrick Henry (Roanoke)
Pulaski Co.
Sherando
Spotswood
Stafford
William Fleming

VHSL Division 3 (801-1300 students)
Western Super Section, Section A
Abingdon
Bassett
Blacksburg
Carroll County
Cave Spring
Christiansburg
Hidden Valley
Lee High
Lord Botetourt
Magna Vista
Marion
Northside
Patrick Co.
Salem
Staunton River
Tunstall
William Byrd

VHSL Division 2 (451-800 students),
Western Super Section, Section A
Fort Chiswell
Gate City
Giles
Graham
Grayson Co.
Grundy
J.J. Kelly
John Battle
Lebanon
Martinsville
Patrick Henry (GS)
Powell Valley
Radford
Richlands
Tazewell
Virginia High

VHSL Division 1 (1-450 students)
Western Super Section, Section B
Bland/Rocky Gap
Chilhowie
Council
Galax
George Wythe
Holston
Hurley
Mount Rogers
Narrows
Northwood
Rural Retreat
Twin Valley

VHSL Division 1,
Western Super Section, Section C
Altavista
Auburn
Bath
Covington
Craig
Eastern Montgomery
Galileo Magnet
Highland
Parry McCluer
Rappahannock Co.
William Campbell

The big question marks hanging over all of this are the prospects of potential district or, “section” play and how that relates to getting into the post season. The press release from the VHSL is decidedly vague on these questions.
The press release, credited to the VHSL staff states that: “schools would have the flexibility to maintain current district membership / alignment, reorganize districts, or be independent of a district. Post-season participation would be determined by League criteria or by criteria developed by the member schools in each section.”
This statement opens up another problem for many athletic directors, for example, trying to make a full ten game football schedule when required district play could no longer be necessary would prove quite the challenge.
“ Section” and “Super Section” play could still remain a factor, however, as stated in the VHSL’s potential guidelines for post-season play. They state that advancement and seeding within each section would be determined by: 1. Overall regular season record 2. Winning percentage within each Division 3. Winning percentage within each section and super section.
It is to be noted that it will take some time before this measure is brought to a vote by the VHSL executive committee — composed of 29 high school administrators from around the state. Even then, alterations would have to be made for the VHSL handbook, and doing so, would require a two-thirds vote in favor of this new realignment among all high schools in Virginia.
In essence, without two-thirds of all the high schools in Virginia agreeing to this realignment, schools could override the executive committees’ votes.
The VHSL executive committee will be meeting this coming December and there will certainly be a lot of discussion. “We’ll have a chance to talk at the meeting,” VHSL Executive Director Ken Tilley said. “I’ve had people say, ‘Please don’t rush this. Please don’t vote on this at the December meeting.”’ Tilley later added the proposal would possibly not come up for a vote for another 12 months.
What does this mean for Pulaski County High School?
If this realignment is approved, and section and super section play become a factor in receiving play off berths, Pulaski County could see itself being reunited with old Roanoke Valley District opponents G.W. Danville, E.C. Glass, Patrick Henry and William Fleming, while taking long bus rides to battle teams as far away as Winchester.
There still is, however, as shown by the VHSL’s enthusiasm for teams to make their own schedules, potential for old rivalry games such as Pulaski County versus Salem. The VHSL press release also states that any member school would be able to schedule any school they desired based upon gate receipts, long standing rivalries, geographic considerations, travel limitations, local school preference, and district alignment.
It is also important to note that, when new school enrollment figures are factored before 2011-12 season, that Salem could very well be in Division 4 play with Pulaski County. As of the Sept. 2007 figures that determined these sections and super sections, Salem was only 11 students away from becoming Division 4 themselves.
When this labyrinthine process is finally finished, it is unlikely that many schools at this end of the state will be happy. In making drive times for teams shorter, the VHSL has succeeded in the eastern half of the state (the longest drive in any of the eastern super sections is a 213 mile trip from Bluestone High, to Nadua on the Chesapeake peninsula) , while thoroughly stretching the Western districts to their limit (A G.W. Danville trip to James Wood High would almost effectively cover Virginia’s borders with North Carolina and Maryland).
More information will be released, however, and the VHSL will be hosting question and answer sessions at various high schools across the state. The closest meeting of note will be held Nov. 18 at Salem High School. These meetings, due to the potential high number of attendees, require pre-registration with the VHSL. For registration, contact Linda Taylor at ltaylor@vhsl.org