SSAC votes to let individual sports programs move up in classification

August 12, 2018

CHARLESTON — Starting in the fall of 2020, West Virginia high schools will be able to play up in classification in individual sports after a new rule was approved by the state Board of Education on Wednesday.

The proposal, which came from the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activity Commission’s Board of Control, changes a policy that required a school to play all sports in a higher classification if the school chose to move up.

Schools are currently reluctant to move up in classification because some sports might not be as strong as other sports.

For example, Tug Valley boys basketball is always one of the top teams in Class A and was a top team in Class AA when they were in that classification. But the baseball, softball, volleyball and other programs are not on the same level as the hoops squad.

So in years past, if the Panthers had chosen to play up in Class AA, it would have hurt the other sports besides boys basketball. Now that they will have the option to just move up in basketball, some Panther fans may push for the move.

The rule allowing playing up a class in an individual sport won’t go into effect until the 2020-21 school year when the next round of classification kicks in. Schools will have to decide by April 2020 if they want to move up a class.

In a meeting earlier this summer, the state school board voted against a proposal from the Board of Control to make a separate class for sports for the eight private schools. Class A schools have been asking for a change in recent years because of the continued success by the private schools in the states smallest classification.

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