MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control unanimously approved no Wednesday a new seven-classification system for championship play beginning with the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. The seven-class system is being adopted for all sports.
The AHSAA expanded from four classes to six in 1984, and from two to four in 1964. Prior to 1947, all schools competed in a single class.
"The seven-classification system will allow more student-athletes to participate in championship events and more will experience first-hand what it means to play in some of the best venues in our state," Central Board President Lamar Brooks said. "With the addition of an extra championship game, revenues should increase which will mean much-needed additional money for all schools through the AHSAA revenue sharing program."
The new seven-classification football alignment places the 32 largest high schools in the new Class 7A. The remaining six classes were divided as equally as possible with 60 schools in 6A, 61 in 5A, 60 in 4A, 60 in 3A, 58 in 2A and 58 making up Class 1A. A total of 23 schools currently do not participate in football championship play and will placed in the re-classification system based on their reported enrollment numbers.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said the seven-class system allows the AHSAA to group schools more closely in enrollment, also reduces the need for nine-team regions in football and has created fewer five-team areas in sports like basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball.
"It also will allow more schools to make the state playoffs and will crown more state champions than at any other time in the history of our organization," said Savarese.
Football teams will be allowed 11 weeks to schedule 10 games. Schools may elect to play a non-region contest the week of Aug. 21-22-23 and then have 10 weeks to play the remaining nine regular-season games. Schools can still agree to play a non-counting jamboree or regulation game that first week but would then have the remaining 10 weeks to schedule the maximum 10 regular-season contests. This format will give schools more flexibility to schedule non-region games.