The Kansas State High School Activities Association has announced that the proposal for reconfiguring activities classifications beginning in the 2018-19 school year has passed.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association has announced that the proposal for reconfiguring activities classifications beginning in the 2018-19 school year has passed.

The proposal had been drafted by a 13-person committee, but had to be approved by the KSHSAA membership before going into effect. On June 14, KSHSAA reported that the proposals had passed.

There are actually two components to the proposal, each of which could be approved or denied by the membership. Both proposals passed by comfortable margins: football reclassification passed 215-73; non-football activities reclassification passed 207-145.

There will be no more 4A divisions 1 & 2 in the new scheme. In football, the largest 32 schools will be 6A, the next 32 will be 5A just like before.

Under the old regime, the next 32 were 4A division 1, the next 32 were 4A division 2 and the next 64 were 3A. Now, the next 32 will be 4A, but the next 48 will be 3A, eliminating 4A division 2.

Previously, smaller schools playing 11-man football were lumped together into Class 1-2A. Now there will be a separate 2A for football consisting of the next 48 schools and 1A will be all the remainder playing 11-man.

There will still be 2 divisions of 8-man football, but a school's enrollment may not exceed 100 students (grades 9-11) to participate in 8-man football State playoffs.

For all activities other than football, the new classification protocol is as follows: the largest 36 schools 6A; the next 36 schools 5A; the next 36 schools 4A; the next 64 schools 3A; the next 64 schools 2A and the remainder 1A (approximately 115).

In 2016-17, Pratt High School was the 107th largest school in the State. Although one might think that would ensconce PHS solidly in 3A for football, athletic director David Swank was not so sure. "We will be graduating a very small class following this year," he explained, "and gaining what is a good sized 8th grade class."

"It's too early to tell for sure," he said. "We could end up being at the bottom of 4A, or the top of 3A, or we could even be at the bottom of 4A in football and at the top of 3A in everything else. We won't really know where we stand until enrollment numbers are reported."

Being at the bottom of 4A would have one advantage for Pratt High sports which are currently not in 4A division 2. As it stands now, football, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball compete in 4A division 2, in which there are 32 teams. However, sports like track and field, wrestling and tennis compete against all of 4A (64 teams.)

Under the new system, all non-football sports would be in the same class. In 4A there will be 36 teams, so the arithmetical odds of making it to State will improve dramatically for kid who has been competing in, say, wrestling or track. "Things will be more equal among all the sports in who has a chance to make it to State," Swank said.

A consideration, of course, is that previously 5A schools like Hays and McPherson have dropped to 4A. Class 4A will likely have a major disparity from top to bottom in enrollment numbers- which was what led to the "4A division 2" thing in the first place.

Of course, if PHS reverts to 3A in non-football, it means competing against 63 other schools- a larger number of schools, even if the enrollment sizes are more equivalent. So a lot is riding on the enrollment numbers, as it relates to against whom Pratt High athletes must compete for State honors.

Where PHS falls in enrollment will also have an impact on season scheduling, especially football. Class 3A will have 6-team districts; Class 4A's districts will consist of 3 teams. So there will be quite a disparity between how many non-district games must be scheduled depending on whether PHS falls 3A or 4A.

One issue addressed by the new protocol is to address the “3 playoff games in 10 days” that had always faced 3A football teams.

In 3A beginning in 2018, a school will schedule its first 3 games. Then they will play 5 games against their district rivals. The 9th game of the season will be the first round of playoffs vs. a neighboring district, as now. Teams not in the top 2 of district will still play a 9th game. It will be against a similarly finishing team in the neighboring district.

It was unclear at press time how the new rules might impact Skyline. They were the 224th largest school this past year, about a dozen from the bottom of 2A. USD 438 officials were reportedly looking into any possibilities that enrollment trends might alter their classification or prevent them from being able to compete in 8-man football.