The main and lead topic of discussion at Tuesday’s Wyoming High School Activities Association board of directors meeting was reclassification.
Volleyball, basketball and track came as a package deal for all three sports to be reclassified into a “16-16-16-rest” format beginning in the 2018-19 year. Under that, the three largest classifications would have 16 schools while Class 1A would be comprised of the remaining schools.
The proposal passed at first reading in three of the four district meetings and was passed by a large majority at Tuesday’s meeting.
Under that proposal the classes were listed as this:
Class 4A: Mountain West Conference (Kelly Walsh, Natrona, Riverton, Rock Springs); Northeast Conference (Cody, Gillette, Sheridan, Thunder Basin); Southwest Conference (Evanston, Green River, Jackson, Star Valley); Southeast Conference (Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South, Laramie).
Class 3A: Northwest Conference (Lander, Lovell, Powell, Thermopolis); Northeast Conference (Buffalo, Douglas, Newcastle, Worland); Southwest Conference (Big Piney, Mountain View, Lyman, Pinedale); Southeast Conference (Burns, Rawlins, Torrington, Wheatland).
Class 2A: Northwest Conference (Greybull, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, Tongue River); Northeast Conference (Big Horn, Moorcroft, Sundance, Wright); Southwest Conference (Kemmerer, Shoshoni, Wind River, Wyoming Indian); Southeast Conference (Glenrock, Lusk, Pine Bluffs, Southeast).
Class 1A: Northwest Conference (Burlington, Dubois, Meeteetse, St. Stephens, Ten Sleep); Northeast Conference (Arvada-Clearmont, Hulett, Kaycee, Midwest, NSI Academy, Upton); Southwest Conference (Cokeville, Encampment, Farson, Saratoga, Snake River); Southwest Conference (Chugwater, Glendo, Guernsey, Hanna, Lingle, Rock River).
Criticism and concern over the proposal was met with discussion in favor of a five-class reclassification. It was argued that teams do not often play outside their class, contributing to excessive travel, and would be cut down by smaller classifications, but that was not widely accepted.
Concerns with too many byes in the state tournament was one of the reasons the board read a proposal for wrestling reclassification. The proposal, which was defeated in two of the four district meetings at first reading, would begin in 2018-19 and would mean the top 20 schools would be in Class 4A while the remaining schools would be in Class 3A.
The major objective to the proposal would be to improve the quality of both regional and state tournaments.
Another concern mentioned was the increased competition would possibly decrease participation, which has been down across the state. It was also voiced that programs like Cokeville would not have as much success with the two-class proposal, which narrowly passed by a 8-7 vote.
Soccer reclassification was also on the table with a proposal that would have the top 14 schools in Class 4A with the remaining schools in Class 3A.
Under the proposal, which passed in three of the four district first readings, Jackson and Star Valley would join the largest classification starting in 2018-19. Schools have shown interest in adding soccer and the board believes those could be easily added to the new Class 3A classification. That proposal passed 13-2.
Other takeaways from the meeting:
Internal talk of eight- and nine-man football has occurred, but no formal discussion or proposal was put forward.
The board is deeply concerned with House Bill 236 and SJ9 currently going through the Wyoming State Legislature.
Laramie is confirmed to host the State Football Championships up to 2019 and the city was “leery” about making a four-year bid. But the board prefers for the games to be at War Memorial Stadium and enjoys a good working relationship with the University of Wyoming.
A golf contingency plan was put forward after the second day in two of the three state golf meets this past season were canceled due to weather. Under the new plan a minimum of 18 holes would be played and, if able, teams would use 27-hole scores if the full 36 holes cannot be completed.
Casper will host state volleyball, wrestling, basketball and track championships until at least the end of the 2022 school year.