Posted: 1:25 pm Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

FHSAA reclassification takes next step toward ‘Rural Division’ 

By Jeff Greer

The FHSAA Board of Directors voted last week to continue evaluating the reclassification process in six high school sports for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. More than 40 schools have expressed interest in reclassifying as a “rural school” and playing in the new class, which the FHSAA calls the Rural Division.

The FHSAA Board of Directors will vote on the new classification policy in November.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that the new Rural Division would include schools with 600 or fewer students and would replace Class 1B for football and Class 1A for every other sport involved. The FHSAA listed boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball, girls volleyball and football as sports that would see the change.

“The Board unanimously approved moving forward with the concept, which benefits a number of our member schools without detriment to any others,” FHSAA Executive Director Roger Dearing said in a release. “This is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Village Academy was the only Palm Beach County school to express interest in the Rural Division classification, according to FHSAA documents obtained by The Post. Village Academy did not return a message left with the school on Tuesday.

FHSAA officials asked Glades Day over the summer if the Gators might be interested in the new class, but the initial reaction from the Belle Glade school wasn’t positive.

“We’ve asked them to send more information,” Glades Day athletics director Mike Underwood said. “We said we weren’t interested in it at the time. We thought it was a stupid idea. The traveling would be unbelievable.”

Underwood said Glades Day wants to know more about which schools would be in the Gators’ district. If there’s a chance Glades Day teams have to travel two or three hours for games, then it isn’t worth it, Underwood said. One of the possibilities is potentially moving any Class 1B schools that aren’t interested in the Rural Division up to Class 1A for football and then finding places for the other sports in new classifications.

“We just want to know our options,” Underwood said. “If we have to go up to 1A, we’ll move up to 1A. But if this is all based on student populations, [the FHSAA] will have some work to do to make the classifications fair.”