NMAA board reveals reclassification plans [The Santa Fe New Mexican]
(Santa Fe New Mexican, The (NM) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 26--ALBUQUERQUE -- The seismic shift that promises to reshape New Mexico's high school sports landscape will come Nov. 20.
The trembles felt Monday were just a sign of things to come.
During its latest board of directors meeting, the New Mexico Activities Association announced its plans for its latest overhaul of the classification and alignment system that divides the state's schools into athletic districts.
On hand for the nearly four-hour meeting Monday morning at the new Community Stadium on Albuquerque's west side were a number of school administrators and coaches, including interim Santa Fe Public Schools athletic director Bill Moon, Santa Fe High head coaches Ray Holladay (football), David Rodriguez (boys basketball) and Elmer Chavez (girls basketball).
Also there were St. Michael's athletic director Tom Manning and Santa Fe Indian School athletic director Matt Martinez.
None of them could do a thing to alter what is sure to come, and that's the reality of several Santa Fe-area schools getting shoved into new classifications and possibly new districts starting next school year. No action was taken Monday.
Among those at the forefront of the discussion is Santa Fe High, which is slated to join the new Class AAAAAA in 2014.
The NMAA is essentially eliminating Class B for the state's smallest schools and renaming it Class A. All the other classifications will simply move up another level.
Class AAAAAA will have roughly 24 schools, most of which are currently in Class AAAAA. One of the newcomers is Santa Fe High, based strictly on student enrollment.
NMAA assistant director Bill Cleland said a school's three-year average for its 40-day enrollment counts will determine its classification. The next 40-day count is due to the state's Public Education Department by mid-October. Those figures will be added to the previous two years' worth, averaged out and used to place schools in their new alignments.
In Santa Fe High's case, it's projected three-year average would make it one of the smallest schools in the state's largest class.
While SFPS and even most coaches at Santa Fe High are conceding that point, what's at stake is which district the school will be placed in. It is tentatively slated to join the same district as Rio Rancho, Cibola, Cleveland and Volcano Vista -- arguably one of the toughest districts for all sports.
Holladay has lobbied for a move into the district that will house Albuquerque schools Highland, Rio Grande, Atrisco Heritage Academy, West Mesa, Albuquerque High and potentially Valley. In so doing, he argues, it provides more competitive balance.
The NMAA said it will allow schools to file a formal appeal, but it must come within a 72-hour window after the Nov. 20 board meeting in which the final decision on all alignment issues will be settled.
The multiple shifts also have a number of private schools potentially on the move, including St. Michael's. With the 1.3 multiplier used against all private school enrollments, St. Michael's appears to be a lock for AAAA, along with current district rivals Hope Christian, Sandia Prep and Santa Fe Indian School.
One school hurt the most by the multiplier is East Mountain. Currently in AA, it will likely join the all-private school district in AAAA next year. On hand for Wednesday's meeting were the school's principal and athletic director. Their 25-minute presentation to the board highlighted their lack of facilities, lack of student participation and inability to secure additional funds from the state to improve their situation.
They asked the board to install an inverse multiplier for them alone. Rather than the 1.3 used for all private schools, they asked for a 0.7. Their case garnered little sympathy from the board, which essentially ignored their request. Among the board members offering the heaviest critiques were Stan Rounds of Las Cruces, Bill Green of Quemado, T.J. Parks of Hobbs and Winston Brooks of Albuquerque.
There was also discussion about the possibility of eliminating either six-man or eight-man football and the potential of the NMAA using one site for all state championship football games. While the future of six-man and eight-man remains unclear, the same cannot be said of having a one-day football showcase.
Only Brooks, the Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent, was in favor the proposal.
Slight changes were also made in how tennis matches are scored and how finalists in state track meets are determined. A proposal to make schools purchase a fully automatic timing system for all qualifying meets was tabled.
Other items of note included the NMAA seeing a 5 percent drop in ticket sales during the 2012-13 school year. The biggest loss was at the state basketball tournament, a loss NMAA executives chalked up to a lack of marquee matchups. Football, however, saw an increase in ticket sales.
The board passed a proposal that establishes a minimum number of schools necessary to add a new sport to those sanctioned by the NMAA. One of those sports once considered, albeit loosely, was bass fishing.
(c)2013 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.)
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