Proposals would alter Alaska high school tournament alignment

Posted: Monday, December 04, 2000

ANCHORAGE -- Responding to a recent trend of school-generated realignment, the Alaska School Activities Association board has forwarded a proposal that could drastically reduce the number of schools competing in Class 4A and Class 3A.

Class 4A, for the state's largest schools, would be cut from 20 schools to 13, while Class 3A would drop from 27 to 12.

The reclassification was recommended at the board's annual winter meeting, which ended Saturday in Anchorage. The board recommended one of three reclassification proposals submitted by reclassification committee chairman Dean Overbey of Nenana.

"What we're doing in practice isn't what we have on paper," said Overbey, the board's Region II representative. "So why not draw it up to reflect reality?"

Alaska's current four-class system was approved in 1984. It was designed to stage separate state competitions for each classification.

For example, basketball tournaments are held in each classification, while cross-country running has one meet for Class 4A schools and one for combined Class 1-2-3A schools.

But a year ago, the ASAA board approved a request by several large Kenai Peninsula schools to compete in the small-school football playoffs. It also approved a mixed-classification state tournament for small-school hockey teams last year and has received requests from several Class 3A schools in Western Alaska -- which now play volleyball in a Class 1-2-3A state tournament -- to play during the season for Class 3A teams on the road system.

Wrestling has been declassified entirely, with one season in the fall and one in spring.

"This is different than in the past," said Gary Matthews, ASAA executive director. "Most of the proposals used to come from committees formed by the board. Now these schools are coming to us and saying, 'We feel we need to do something to help place our kids in a competitive situation."'

After each of the regional boards reviews the proposal with member schools, the plan will be returned to the ASAA board for discussion at its Feb. 25-Feb. 26 meeting at Anchorage.

Any decision about reclassification would not take effect until the 2002-2003 school year at the earliest because the board this week approved the 2001-2002 activities calendar.

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