FHSAA votes to move ahead with one-year reclassification process for schools

Nease wide receiver Grant Stevens (88) makes a catch against Yulee linebacker Landon Hale (11) in the second quarter of a Sept. 25 game.
Nease wide receiver Grant Stevens (88) makes a catch against Yulee linebacker Landon Hale (11) in the second quarter of a Sept. 25 game. (News4Jax)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida High School Athletic Association is moving ahead with reclassification, unanimously voting Monday morning to a one-year cycle in reshuffling schools.

The FHSAA board of directors will use enrollment numbers from October 2020 to determine which classification (1A to 8A) that schools will play in for the upcoming year. It will be in effect for the 2021-22 school year only. Reclassification will happen again in 2022-23, likely for a two-year cycle that has been the norm for the FHSAA before the pandemic shook things up across the state.

The FHSAA had reclassified schools every other year in odd years. The delay this time was due to enrollment numbers that have varied sharply for schools during the pandemic.

Are schools any closer to finding out who they’ll be playing in the next year? They’re getting there, but they’re not quite there yet.

With reclassification approved for this year, schools will now be placed in classification based on enrollment numbers from roughly six months ago. New districts will be drawn up in the coming weeks and the bulk of teams can only then begin filling out their 2021-22 schedules.

That delay is particularly challenging for Class 5A-8A football programs, who, in normal times, would have already known where they would have been placed months ago. During the FHSAA’s last reclassification cycle in 2018, fall sports programs learned of their new districts in mid-December of that year.

With only a one-year cycle now, that makes things interesting from a scheduling perspective. Football teams almost always schedule in two-year blocks. Now, it shifts things around. Who gets the home game in a one-year scheduling scenario?

Wewahitchka athletic director Bobby Johns said that just 227 of more than 600 member schools returned forms seeking input on what to do with reclassification. Among those forms that were returned, Johns said that 127 schools were in favor of a one-year reclassification.


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