The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the first draft of the realignment that will go into effect in the fall of 2021, giving us a glimpse of what classification all 426 member schools will be in for the next four years.

The NCHSAA realigns the four classifications every four years, to keep the member schools on a level playing field, in regards to the number of students that attend each school.

This year, the NCHSAA will not only use the ADMs, which will count for 50% of each school’s realignment score, but will also include a three-year average of Wells Fargo Cup standings (25%), and an average of the previous three years of the Identified Student Percentage (ISP) numbers as submitted by the LEA to DPI (25%).

Under the first draft of the 2021 realignment, three Lincoln County schools will be affected by changing from their current classification.

East Lincoln High School and North Lincoln High School are expected to move from the 2A ranks to 3A, and Lincoln Charter School will make the move from 1A to 2A.

This move will most likely move those schools out of their current conference affiliation, and into a league with schools that are within their classification. East Lincoln and North Lincoln would likely stay together, moving out of the South Fork 2A and into a 3A conference that makes sense geographically for all schools involved.

Lincoln Charter would most likely exit the Southern Piedmont 1A Conference, and join Lincolnton and West Lincoln in a newly formed 2A league with other area schools of the same classification.

The NCHSAA is expected to release the first draft of the new conference realignment later this week. Then, by the appropriate deadline, schools should submit to the NCHSAA, in writing, all concerns or desired adjustments to the initial plan.

This includes suggestions for new conference affiliations or agreements among schools that have agreed to be in a conference together, etc. Such suggestions should be shared with the impacted schools.

The NCHSAA Board of Directors held their Winter meetings last week, and made a couple adjustments pertaining to high school football.

The board elected to eliminate subdivisions in football beginning in August 2021, dropping to just four state champions from the current eight. The NCHSAA began subdividing football playoffs with 1A in 2001, and all four divisions in 2002, going to A and AA champions in each classification.

The NCHSAA BOD also voted to reduce the number of regular-season contests in football, effective August 2021, to 10 games (including endowment) while implementing a stipulation that the first contest may not occur more than two days in advance of the final Friday in August.  (Published December 7, 2020)

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