Tommy Mattocks: Conferences, classifications, enrollment: Part II
In an earlier post, we talked about how Kinston, North Lenoir and South Lenoir finally wound up in the same conference. Today, I would like to dive into some actual enrollment numbers to see how stable this conference is going forward toward the next realignment period coming up in the next year or two.
Remember in my Part I post, I said the classifications use to be split 25 percent. Well this last realignment the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) experimented with changing those figures to 20 percent (1A), 30 percent (2A), 30 percent (3A) and 20 percent (4A) because the disparity in the numbers for the top 4A class and the bottom 1A class were much more than the differences in the 2A and 3A. The problem with this experiment is that dropping the numbers from 25 percent to 20 percent leads to fewer schools in those categories and automatically increases travel as fewer schools mean they are farther apart.
Here are the actual numbers for the average daily attendance in each classification:
4A – Lowest school was 1656 students; highest was 2970
3A – Lowest was 1031 students; highest was 1643
2A – Lowest was 648 students; highest was 1024
1A – lowest was 24 students (School of the Deaf); highest was 647
Our Eastern Carolina 2A Conference schools’ average daily attendance:
1019 – West Craven
1012 – Washington
899 – North Lenoir
888 – Greene Central
800 – South Lenoir
786 – Kinston
717 – Ayden Grifton
As you can see from our figures, the core of our conference, North Lenoir, Greene Central, South Lenoir, Kinston and Ayden Grifton look to be pretty safe to be 2A size again next realignment, but West Craven and Washington could easily wind up 3A and leave our conference next time. Ayden Grifton and Kinston can’t afford to lose students or they will fall to 1A status.
In 2016, Goldsboro was in the conference with Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, Ayden Grifton and Greene Central, making one of the nicest and most compact conferences for these schools ever. But the NCHSAA cannot leave any school out, thus it has to make such hard core decisions on conferences many times that the schools simply will not like. They have to consider that conference alignment is not just for football, basketball and baseball; it is also for the minor sports like volleyball, tennis, soccer and track. Travel kills those sports.
Some quick history, in 2012, two alignments before the current one, here is where the schools were:
South Lenoir was 2A size but was in East Central Conference with East Duplin, James Kenan & Wallace.
Kinston was 2A in Eastern Plains with Greene County, Beddingfield, Farmville, Tarboro and North Pitt.
North Lenoir was 3A size in conference with East Wayne, South Wayne, Aycock and Triton
After considering size first for conference alignment, the next consideration always has to be travel, as school budgets are always hurting for money and travel is a big drain.
Editor’s note: The ADM’s have been updated and are the 2018-19 numbers from NCHSAA.org.