High schools: Carson could be 4A with new realignment plan
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Carson in 4A? It may happen.
The Cougars moving up a classification is just one of the wrinkles possible with the NCHSAA’s latest realignment plan.
Realignment happens every four years. Even a pandemic can’t stop that.
The realignment of the 445 high schools that are members of the NCHSAA will kick in with the 2021-22 school year and will last through 2024-25.
The system has been completely overhauled for this realignment, starting with designating counties as East or West, right from the start. There are 45 counties in the West, with 216 NCHSAA member schools. There are 55 counties in the East, with 209 NCHSAA member schools.
Classifications in previous realignments were determined solely by enrollment figures, but now the number of students attending a school will provide only half of a more complicated equation. Attendance figures used will be from the 2019-20 school year, not the current COVID-affected one.
Accounting for 25 % of a school’s “realignment score” are “state cup standings,” a measure of overall success by the entire athletic program over a three-year period, and the Identified Student Percentage, which measures the number of students at that school receiving government assistance.
There will be an equal number of schools in each classification in each region. In the West, there will be 54 teams in 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A. That’s a change. There have been fewer schools in 1A and 4A, then in 2A and 3A.
The 54 schools with the highest “realignment scores” will be 4A. The next 54 will be 3A, and so on.
Specific conferences haven’t been designated by the NCHSAA yet. That comes later in the process. Dec. 10 is the scheduled date.
High School Overtime, which has a reputation for accuracy, has offered some interesting projections in recent days.
Davie will still be 4A.
Carson will fall very close to the 3A/4A dividing line, but the Cougars are projected to be 4A. Carson would have one of the lowest “realignment scores” among the West’s 54 4A schools.
If Carson does move up to 4A, it could find itself in a conference made up primarily of Cabarrus schools that project to be 4A, schools such as A.L. Brown, Northwest Cabarrus, West Cabarrus, Hickory Ridge, Central Cabarrus and Cox Mill. South Iredell also projects as 4A.
West Rowan still will be 3A.
East Rowan’s “realignment score” will fall close to the dividing line between 2A and 3A, but is projected to remain 3A.
Other projected 3A schools from current area conferences include Statesville, North Iredell, Mount Pleasant, Robinson, Concord, Central Davidson, Ledford, Oak Grove and North Davidson.
South Rowan is also close to that 2A/3A border, but is projected to stay in 2A.
Salisbury will be 2A.
Some other area schools that project to be 2A are East Davidson, West Davidson, Lexington, North Stanly and West Iredell.
North Rowan will stay in 1A.
Some other schools with 1A projections are Gray Stone, South Stanly, Thomasville, South Davidson and Albemarle.
A couple of the current members of the Yadkin Valley Conference — North Moore and Chatham Central — would be placed in an East conference with the new realignment plan.