CHAPEL HILL – As expected, the N.C. High School Athletic Association pared down its state playoff field in response to a major change in the classification of its schools. The action was taken at last week’s spring meeting of the NCHSAA Board of Directors.

Beginning this fall, 20 percent of the association’s schools will be in the 4-A class and another 20 percent in 1-A. Both 3-A and 2-A will have 30 percent each.

Since there are fewer teams in the top and bottom classes, it made sense to reduce the number of teams in the playoffs. There will now be 48 each in 4-A and 1-A, with 64 each in 3-A and 2-A.

In football, the NCHSAA will still split classes and offer eight state titles. The new playoff numbers are for baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball
and volleyball.

One controversial point was that MaxPreps state rankings will be used to seed the teams on a one-year experiment. Some members of the NCHSAA Board of Directors, including Patty Evers of East Bladen, oppose that idea.

“I’m not for a ranking system in high school,’’ Evers said. “How do you know who’s good and who’s not? You just don’t know and who’s going to do all
that research?”

Que Tucker, commissioner of the NCHSAA, said the board got a lot of input from athletic directors at their recent conference in Wilmington, along with recommendations from an ad hoc committee on the playoffs. “I think what the board did was good and we’ll see how it works,’’ she said.

One important issue the board took no action on was the future of home school athletes playing for NCHSAA member schools. It has been a hot topic in other states and Evers said the NCHSAA knows the subject is coming to North Carolina. “We are ready to move forward with it,’’ she said. “There are still some things going on with the legislature we don’t
know about.’’

Tucker said the NCHSAA doesn’t want to have a knee jerk reaction to the issue and just blindly put a policy in place. “We’ll continue to monitor it and what our strategies will be as we move forward,’’ she said.

Other news from the meeting:

• Dual team wrestling, the last sport to still hold its state championship in a high school gym, will be moved to a neutral championship site.

• The NCHSAA will look into developing a separate championship for
girls’ wrestling.

• Accepting money or an illegal award will cause an NCHSAA athlete to lose eligibility for the semester it was accepted and the semester to follow.

• Cheerleading coaches and tennis coaches, girls and boys, must attend the annual rules clinic for their sport.

• Cumberland County will get
its own officials’ association
for lacrosse.

• The NCHSAA can require host schools for the playoffs to get a venue suitable to the expected crowd that is of sufficient quality.

• In-season dead periods were cut from six to three weeks. The May dead period was eliminated for girls’ sports and for boys at schools without football. A 10-day dead period was added at the end of the school year.

• Guidelines were set to have mandatory breaks during a game when wet bulb thermometer readings are at 90 or above.

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