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WVSSAC proposing fourth classification for basketball

March 10, 2019

CHARLESTON — As is the case with any state basketball tournament, there was a palpable buzz in the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center this past week.

But, there was also one circulating through press row and into the media rooms.

For months, there has been discussion about a proposal from the West Virginia Secondary School Activity Commission on moving from three to four classifications. The proposal was put out to member schools that would add a fourth class in basketball only and if passed, would come to fruition in the 2020-21 season coinciding with the next reclassification, which happens every four years.

The plan would be to test the new format in hoops for two years to see how the system would work if used in other sports in the future.

On April 1, there will be a discussion and on April 2 there will be a vote by principals from around the state. If approved by simple majority, it will be passed on to the state board of education for approval. If the proposal passes there, it will sit at the secretary of state’s office for 60 days before becoming the new law of the land.

“Over the last couple years we’ve known many of our members are unhappy with the current format and enrollment being the sole determinant,” WVSSAC executive director Bernie Dolan said. “We looked at some different models other states have been using.

“We started with a success factor, basically if you are in state finals two years in a row, you went up a class. Many people thought we were penalizing people for being successful, so we went away from that.”

Under the new proposal, multiple factors would be included in classifying teams.

School enrollment will still account for 70 percent of the equation with location factoring in for 20 percent and other factors such as the economic status of each county and the low socioeconomic status connected to each school comprising the final 10 percent.

Once those numbers arc crunched, schools will be listed in order from top to bottom and then divided up into four classes.